Tech entrepreneur Nir Zuk is founding a new digital bank in Israel and has already been arranging meetings with institutional bodies to discuss their possible involvement in the new venture. Zuk was a founder of Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) and founded its rival Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW), which currently has a market cap of $35 billion. Zuk has teamed up with the former Israel Securities Authority chairman Shmuel Hauser and entrepreneur Yuval Aloni and the three have already requested a banking license from the Bank of Israel.
The new digital bank will not be on any known format, either in terms of the services that it offers customers and possibly even in the ways it provides access to customers. The new bank will offer loans and other financial products on competitive terms to other bodies currently providing credit. Customers will also be able to make contact with the bank at sales points in retail chains and shopping centers.
Zuk, Hauser and Aloni are looking to raise capital from institutional bodies in order to found the bank. This is in contrast to Amnon Shashua's First Digital Bank, which will be financed by Shashua himself and partners, and has already received a banking license. Zuk, Hauser and Aloni's bank is seeking to raise money at a valuation of more than NIS 2 billion.
Sources inform "Globes" that the new bank has already set meetings with the The Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) and there have been initial contacts with Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) and Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS).
The amount the new bank is looking to raise is relatively high but the Israeli and global fintech sectors are flourishing in an unprecedented way and the founders believe now is the right time to embark on such a capital raising venture. The new bank has yet to decide on the model that will be formed with its institutional partners.
The new bank is in the process of receiving a license but much work still needs to be done. In contrast to the First Digital Bank, for which Shashua has hired the operational services of a third party to set up the core systems, Zuk hopes to take advantage of his tech background and capabilities to lead that part of the operation himself.
Asked to comment on this report, the Bank of Israel said, "As part the development of competition in banking, the Supervisor of Banks supports various ventures interested in developing future banking activities. We do not relate specifically to this or that venture."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 3, 2021
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