Saturday, October 11, 2008

Finance Minister: No Israeli banks will collapse

Haaretz Service

Finance Minister Ronny Bar-On assured the Israeli public on Friday that despite the current global financial crisis, Israel's banks will definitely not collapse. In an interview with Channel 2 news Friday evening, Bar-On said that "based on examination, including one from today, the body overseeing the banks can state with the clearest certainty that the banks in Israel are stable. As I see the situation, and I see it in figures, no banks will collapse."

The finance minister went on to say that "once we wanted to be like America or Iceland, but today we don't. We have a completely different banking system. Here we supervise all the time. No banks have gone under, and none will."

In response to a question whether the treasury will refrain from opening stock market trading on Sunday if the stocks plummet, Bar-On said "We have to calm down, and calm the public. Markets go up and markets go down and we had three days of nervous trading in the world. I hope everything will be alright."

In a similar interview with Channel 1 news later Friday, the finance minister said "the banks in Israel are stable, in contrast with what is happening outside the country. There is not one Israeli citizen that is not afraid for his savings. But we're seeing deposits. If there was fear over the banks' liquidity, there wouldn't be any deposits."

He added that the treasury has devised plans to address possible scenarios that may arise in light of the crisis, but refrained from revealing the scenarios for fear of creating panic.

Bar-On went on to say that "the crisis will not halt the growth in the economy. We will ensure that the credit crisis is kept under control."

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