Israel’s new bank chooses a new name

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Israel’s newest bank, known so far as First Digital Bank (FDB), has chosen a new name – One Zero. This “reflects our mission and our vision – to defeat all that is complex in banking,” the company said Thursday.

One Zero is a fully digital bank and the first new bank in Israel for over 40 years. The bank was founded by tech entrepreneur Amnon Shashua, also the founder of autonomous driving systems company Mobileye (a subsidiary of Intel), and was approved to start operating by the Bank of Israel in 2019. It is currently at the stage of a pilot program, offering banking services to employees and their families.

The bank said it expects a soft launch, or limited launch, to the Israeli public early next year.

He said the new name signified his intention “to win and offer a real, comprehensive and new alternative to bank customers” and to “overcome wasted time and uptime, complexities and headaches of management. money, bureaucracy and everything that has hurt us so much.

“One Zero is also the triumph of technology that speaks three languages, even before having learned to walk: Hebrew, English and binary. A bank with combined artificial and human intelligence, ”he added.

One Zero is an independent bank that hopes to compete with the five largest banking groups in the country, which today hold around 98% of the market. In 2019, she was the first to receive a banking license in Israel for over 43 years.

The new moniker comes two weeks after One Zero raised $ 120 million in Series A funding led by a group of leading investors, including Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent, Japanese financial firm SBI Holdings (formerly part of Softbank ) and the Swiss wealth management company Julius Baer, ​​one of Switzerland’s oldest banking institutions.

The investment valued One Zero at $ 320 million, according to the announcement at the time.

The bank will not have a branch and will operate by integrating human bankers – who provide 24-hour customer service through online chat and a call center – with advanced artificial intelligence-based technology that aims to create personalized service experiences for customers.

It will offer all existing banking services, including personal accounts, joint accounts, loans, deposits, credit cards, stocks, guarantees, standing orders and foreign currencies. Mortgages will be added to the list of offers in the future.

One Zero said it hopes to “lead the autonomous banking transformation” by using “proprietary AI tools and technologies” to provide households “with a private banking service experience designed to proactively support their daily financial challenges. – from cash flow to budgeting, credit, savings, investments and more – saving them time, money and financial stress.

CEO Gal Bar Dea told The Times of Israel earlier this month that the bank will use the funds to “continue to develop its technology” and put support systems in place before launch, highlighting “incredible opportunities” in the Israeli market where “42% of households are dissatisfied with their existing banks, according to a study by the Bank of Israel.

“We have very ambitious goals in a tight market where people don’t really leave their banks,” even when they’re not satisfied, said Bar Dea, and that’s because the existing alternatives are more or less the best. same. “[One Zero] has the potential to inspire people to move towards frictionless banking. “

He added that there may also be future expansion into other international markets.

Bar Dea is one of the founders of Pepper, the digital banking company of the Leumi Group. The president of the new bank is Shouky Oren, who was the general accountant of the Ministry of Finance in 2007-2011. Oren was also previously CEO of Bank Leumi Suisse and CEO of real estate company Kardan NV.

Shashua had invested $ 65 million of his own capital in the initiative. Tech entrepreneur Marius Nacht, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies and founder of aMoon Fund, which invests in healthcare technology, was also co-founder of the bank, but left the company. Last year.

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