Discount Bank was established on 5 April 1935, as Eretz Yisrael Discount Bank Ltd., by Leon Recanati and his partners, Yosef Albo and Moshe Carasso. In its early days, Discount Bank operated out of a small hotel on Nachlat Binyamin Street in Tel Aviv. It later moved to its permanent location at 39 Yehuda Halevi Street. Today, Discount Bank's headquarters are located at the Discount Bank Tower, a 30-story skyscraper located at 23 Yehuda HaLevi Street in Tel Aviv, which completed construction in 2006.
Discount Bank derives its name from the word "disconto", discount of bills. Discount Bank began its operations at a time of relative economic prosperity due to foreign capital that was brought into the country by members of the Fifth Aliyah in 1935, and grew significantly in its initial years of operation.
Economic growth ground to a halt with the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in 1936, and the economic situation grew even more dire three years later, with the outbreak of World War II. Despite the deterioration of the economy during those years, Discount Bank managed to increase its profit, especially thanks to its contribution to the Yishuv by extending loans with good terms as a response to the difficult legislation by the British Mandate, which limited the withdrawal of deposits due to the fear of economic collapse. Alongside its financial activity, the bank contributed to the strength of the Yishuv through the establishment of Kadima, an organization that granted scholarships, opened an assistance center for the needy and, in conjunction with the Jewish Agency for Israel, helped establish agricultural settlements for immigrants from Arab countries.In 1944, Discount Bank acquired the Haifa-based Mercantile Bank and several years later also acquired the local operations of the Ottoman Bank, Barclays Bank and Hollandsche Bank-Unie.In 1945, Recanati passed away and management moved to his sons. Uri Levin was named CEO of Discount Bank in July 2019 and has served in this position since December 2019
In the 1950s, Discount Bank opened additional branches in Europe. It began investing in Israeli companies through the Israeli Company for Financing and Investment, which it had acquired. In those years, thanks to the bank's accelerated opening of branches around Israel and extension of its opening hours to the afternoon, the bank grew to become the second largest bank in Israel. At the beginning of the 1960s, the bank expanded its activity both in Israel and overseas. In 1961, for the first time in the banking industry, the investment company, Discount Investments, was founded. What's more, the bank was awarded the right to issue Diners Club credit cards and was the first bank to offer its shares to the public. In 1964, the bank was awarded the Kaplan Prize for being the first bank to computerize its operations.
In the 1970s, the bank continued its momentum of growth and expansion, integration of advanced technologies and modern computer systems and improvement of customer service. In 1970, the bank acquired 50% of Barclays Bank and the name of the bank changed to Barclays-Discount. It later acquired full ownership. Additionally, Mercantile Bank was sold to Barclays-Discount Bank.In 1974, the Discountomat, Israel's first ATM was launched. In 1979, Visa Cal was founded in partnership with Bank Leumi.In 1981, the bank's virtual branch, Discount Telebank was established, making it the first banking call center in Israel and in the world. The same year, the bank also began operating its Bankonit - a mobile bank that operated for several years in the Lachish region. In 1983, "satellites" were opened for the first time in Israel, enabling customers to conduct banking transactions independently, outside of standard work hours. That same year, the bank - along with other banks - was nationalized by the Israeli government, due to the bank stock crisis.Following the 1983 Israel bank stock crisis, the bank's ownership was transferred to the government of Israel.In 1987, the Discount Group established the investment organization, Tachlit Investment House, which was engaged, among other things, in the sale of financial products, investment portfolio management and more.In the first decade of the 21st century, activity centered around privatization of the bank and the sale of the government's holdings in it. In 2004, the process of privatizing the bank began, and this was completed in 2006, with the acquisition of 26% of the bank's shares by the Bronfman-Sharan Group. That same year, shares were also sold to Deutsche Bank. In 2010, the government sold the balance of its holdings in the bank.In 2010, Mafteach Discount was launched, offering benefits and discounts to credit cardholders, while combining an opportunity to makes small but regular deposits into a savings account with each purchase.In 2012, the bank was forced to sell Tachlit ETNs to Dash Investment House, after the Supervisor of the Banks ordered it to sell its holdings in the company by 2013.
Mr. Moshe Agami (Gen. Counsel & Deputy CEO of Discount Capital Underwriting)
Mr. Liran Razmovich (Pres & CEO of Discount Capital Underwriting)
Mr. Barak Nardi (CFO, Exec. VP and Head of Strategy, Fin. & Subsidiaries Division)
Mr. Assaf Eldar (Exec. VP and Head of Operations & Assets Division)
Mr. Joseph Beressi (Chief Accountant, Head of Accounting Division, Sr. Exec. VP & Comptroller)
Ms. Lena Schwartz (Head of Investor Relations)
Nitzan Sandor (Exec. VP, Chief Legal Counsel & Head of the Legal Counsel Division)
Recognition and Awards
Mr. Uri Levin (Pres & CEO)
Mr. Adi Kaplan (Exec. VP, CIO & Head of Technologies Division)
Ms. Lissa Baum (Head of the Corp. Division - IDB New York and Exec. VP of IDB New York)