Bank Hapoalim announced plans to fire 900 employees - 10 percent of its staff - in the coming weeks. Of the job losses, 700 are to go in Hapoalim's various branches, and 200 workers in management.

The major cut in staff is a result of the ongoing recession. The lay-offs will begin in the next few days and will cost the bank an estimated NIS 580 million shekels. In addition, the bank intends to lay off a further 100 from its mortgage subsidiary Bank Mishkan.

The employees who are to be laid off, will be offered severance packages of 230 percent (that is 2.3 times the legal minimium of one month's salary for each year of employment), and will be able to choose whether they want to receive the monetary compensation or a pension plan.