A new directive from the Bank of Israel's Supervisor of Banks, Yoav Lehman, requires a bank's board chairman to be financially well-off.

This requirement aims to prevent someone who is riddled with debt or other economic problems from serving as chairman, thereby avoiding potential conflicts of interest due to one's financial situation.

The directive was applied for the first time several months ago, when attorney Yehoshua Rosenzweig was appointed to chair the board of First International Bank of Israel Rosenzweig was asked by Lehman to present a statement of his financial worth and explain the source of his wealth as a condition for winning approval for the appointment.

"The central bank's supervisory body recently defined a questionnaire to be used in the process of approving bank appointments," Lehman said. "It is based on a questionnaire from the British FSA [Financial Services Authority] on this subject. The questionnaire includes questions regarding the candidate's education, business and professional experience, the absence of criminal or economic convictions, as well as very general data on his financial situation. This is intended to prevent a bankrupt or near-bankrupt person from serving in such a sensitive position."