Israel's First Digital Bank, controlled by Prof. Amnon Shashua, has begun 'running in' operations in which, "bank accounts will be opened for a closed group of customers, who will receive all banking services." Sources have also informed "Globes" that Shashua, who also founded Mobileye and Orcam, is examining bringing in a partner to share control of the bank.
On the subject of a possible partner the bank said, "Digital banks are a buzz topic today worldwide, they are raising capital at very high valuations, and capturing a major share of the market. In the natural course of things, the fact that the entrepreneur leading the autonomous car revolution is setting up a bank, is creating major interest, and we are receiving enquiries from investors in Israel and around the world, and we will report when there is something to announce."
The First Digital Bank, managed by Gal Bar Dea has hired 140 employees so far and they are moving forward in fulfilling the business plan, in which full banking operations to the general public will begin in the current year. Chairman of the bank is Shuki Oren. The bank stresses that the Covid pandemic has in no way delayed the business plan, which in many senses happened at a convenient time for the bank, while it was being established.
The bank said today that it, "will open to the general public towards the end of the year and meanwhile you can join the waiting list on the bank's website."
The bank added, "During the third quarter of 2021, the bank will allow up to 1,000 customers to join from the general public, who will be partners in shaping the bank towards its launch to the public at large at the end of 2021. The bank has also launched a website where it is possible to register to receive updates and the waiting list.
The bank, which was founded by Marius Nacht in August 2018 received approval from the Supervisor of Banks at the Bank of Israel in September 2019. Amnon Shashua joined Nacht as a partner but in May 2020, Nacht announced that he was pulling out of the venture to focus on his other investments, leaving Shashua in full control.
Bar Dea said, "Netflix killed Blockbuster, Spotify disrupted the music industry and Tesla has left Ford and Mitsubishi behind. The banking sector is one of the few sectors that have not undergone a revolution. We will offer innovative and fair banking that will leave people free of worries about money. We have no intention of profiting from the lack of knowledge of our customers and we will do everything so that they won't be in overdraft and will understand exactly for what they are paying."
Oren added, "In the height of a global crisis, we did the unbelievable and set up a complete bank from zero. The start of our operations is a market changing event."
Shashua said that the artificial intelligence revolution has come to banking.
The First Digital Bank will offer full banking services including, in the future, mortgages.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 14, 2021
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