A hectic life makes it easy to miss important things. I must admit I was beyond busy with current world affairs when I attended a very interesting event. Israel Discount Bank (IDB) of New York is a banking institute to which the public should pay attention.
IDB, with operation headquarters in New York City since 1949 and other locations in the United States, Latin America and Israel, is an American multinational private, commercial bank and financial services company. It is chartered in the State of New York and is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In 1962, IDB Ltd. became one of the first foreign banks to open a branch in New York when New York State banking law changed to allow foreign banks to operate branches there.
Along with their personal approach to banking, Israel Discount Bank differentiates itself from other banking institutions and makes banking powerful.
On an early June 2023 evening, IDB of New York, Los Angeles branch, did it again. It hosted dignitaries, community leaders, business owners and a large crowd of patrons in its annual elegant, food feast networking soirée, at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, Beverly Hills, California.
In the hotel garden, with the most pleasant weather, the who’s-who of the business world were in attendance. The hospitality, accompanied by an impressive spread of variety of food, was remarkable.
Looking back, I remember 2015 when I wrote about the NGO Dolev Homes, and IDB was there as a supporter. In 2018, I attended and wrote about the IDB Annual Appreciation Dinner at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Then in 2019, I wrote about IDB as a genuine community bank that promotes economic prosperity between Israel and the USA. Israel Discount Bank is really about community and support.
IDB is the largest Israeli bank operating in the United States. Moti Levy Tzedek, the head of the Business Development Department in California is in charge – from year-to-year – of planning this annual impressive evening event that takes place under the friendly skies and perfect weather conditions California never fails to offer.
Among the distinguished diplomatic corps guests were the Consul General of Israel Dr. Hillel Newman and the Consul General of Azerbaijan Mr. Ramil Gurbanov. It was an interesting coincidence that while Mr. Gurbanov was attending an Israeli bank party, Israel’s President Mr. Yitzhak Herzog was on his first official visit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
The guests heard of the changes in local branch management. Michal Miron, in the banking field for 25 years, took over as director of the California region position from Kiyoun Kim who moved to the New York office as the Executive Vice President Chief Operating Officer.
Ziv Biron, Israel Discount Bank Chief Executive Officer and President was in attendance at the event. He strongly believes in personal banking in which IDB bankers accompany their clients closely and personally throughout the year. Along such operational policy the bank sets its goals resulting in demonstrating impressive achievements.
The bank proudly attests to loyal, close and personal relationships involving three generations of clients. There are those who started working with the bank some 50 years ago and today, their children and grandchildren who entered the family business or established their own continue to work with the bank.
What Makes IDB a Special Bank?
Thinking outside the box approach has moved Israel to be on the list of developed countries and OECD member. Taking the same approach, thinking outside the box is what really sets Israeli banks apart from other banks. For IDB, first and foremost comes the personal treatment each client receives.
If a client needs something urgent, a banker could be reached in a short while. This type of partnership is something that does not exist in large banks because naturally they are less able to give personal attention to each and every one of the customers.
IDB is small enough to be able to give personal attention to everyone, the large and smaller investors.
IDB staff care about the bank’s clients. The bank will assess each transaction from all angles and then implement it while minimizing risks so that it pays off for the client and the bank. Each quarter the CEO arrives to meet with existing clients and potential ones. Since the CEO is also the chairman of the bank’s credit committee, he knows many of the clients personally. That makes it easier to make a decision and approve an application for a loan.
Who Are IDB Clients?
IDB deals with manufacturing companies, importers and exporters who have inventory and credit facilities against their customers’ checks.
The bank also works with real estate in which the bank invests and finances, to name, residential buildings, industrial warehouses, etc., and gives loans for seven to ten years, based on positioned assets. Of course, each transaction depends on the market situation.
IDB makes a great effort not to close the door to any possible deal. Any deal that looks good will be reviewed thoroughly, in a matter-of-fact way.
The minimum credit amount is 5 million dollars. The bank targets the middle-market sector because its model cannot accommodate many small customers. According to most, the minimum investment is around one million dollars, but this is not etched in stone.
Seven years ago, the bank was worth about 5-7 billion dollars, increasing about 17-18 percent per year. Around 2015, the bank exceeded 10 billion dollars and today the total assets of the bank stand at 12-13 billion dollars.
In recent years, the bank has grown through many investments in infrastructure, processes, business opportunities, new products and services, and personnel. Of course, the goal is to continue to grow and improve the bank’s ability to compete with the medium and large banks.
As for credit, in general, the bank’s comfort zone ranges from 5-40 million dollars for business activity and up to 20 million dollars for private customers.
Israel Discount Bank Advantages
IDB is available and creative and does not work with a credit “format” or a portfolio of securities. The bankers are simply attentive to what the customer needs. The decision-making cycle at the bank is short and fast, a very important factor for clients and this along with the personal attention the bankers provide. The approach is to build the appropriate folder for each client.
I still remember what Lilach Asher-Toplisky told me about IDB in 2015, “It is all about long-term relations, about hiring good people who like people.”
Nowadays, in the banking sector, personal service is either poor or fast disappearing. But that isn’t the case at IDB where they offer “old fashioned” type banking. It is clear that old fashioned personalized banking is fast vanishing.
How many readers would love to have an assigned banker?
It is wonderful to see Israel Discount Bank staying the course on personal banking. It is a formula for success with excellent out-of-the-box results.