Bank of Israel seen approving digital bank’s new shareholder structure

The Bank of Israel is expected to approve the transfer of control of a new digital bank to just one controlling shareholder, a person familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel.

Last week, Amnon Shashua, the CEO of Mobileye and a controlling shareholder of the nation’s new digital bank, said he will be taking the helm of the bank by becoming its sole controlling shareholder.

Shashua will buy the holdings of the bank’s co-founder, billionaire entrepreneur Marius Nacht, and is committing to inject a total of $60 million as equity into the new lender, as required.

The move was pending approval of the central bank, and a person familiar with the matter said the Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Israel is not against the move. Shashua is seen as a serious and suitable person to lead the nation’s first fully digital bank, the person said. Some issues will need to be completed before the change of ownership is approved, but there are no problems foreseen, the person said.

In September, the Bank of Israel gave a nod of approval for the establishment of the bank, Israel’s first new bank in some 40 years, led by Nacht and Shashua.

Nacht, who is also the co-founder of Check Point Software Technologies, which is traded in New York at a market value of some $15.3 billion, was the main person behind the digital banking initiative and was joined later on by Shashua as co-controlling shareholder of the bank.

In a surprise move Nacht, who is also the founder of the aMoon Fund, which invests in healthcare technologies, said last week that he was looking now to focus on healthcare and biomed ventures.

Shashua is the co-founder of Mobileye, a developer of self-driving vehicle technologies that was acquired in 2017 by US tech giant Intel for a whopping $15.3 billion. Earlier this week Intel said it bought Moovit for $900 million, to help Mobileye become a complete mobility provider.

Unlike other existing banks in Israel that added a digital channel to their traditional operations, the digital bank, which has yet to choose a name, will not have any physical branches.

The bank expects to start services in the second half of 2021.

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Written by Aakash Malu


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