Discount Bank Embarks on Pricey Layoffs

Generous payout will be offered to some 1,800 Discount employees on Sunday, as CEO Lilach Asher-Topilsky kicks off four-year strategic plan for the bank.

Ofer Vaknin

Some 250 Israel Discount Bank employees will be able to walk away with an average of 1.22 million shekels ($333,000) each in severance pay, above and beyond what they are normally entitled, as the bank works to reduce its payroll by the end of the year.

The generous payout will be offered to some 1,800 Discount employees in letters scheduled to be distributed on Sunday, as CEO Lilach Asher-Topilsky kicks off a four-year strategic plan for the bank. The aim is to move ahead with the voluntary layoffs as quickly as possible so that the 250 who accept the offer are gone by the end of 2014.

Because it has had to contend with a militant workers committee over the years, Discount is struggling with unusually high wage costs as well as an unusually inefficient labor force relative to other Israeli banks. One of the four-year plan’s goals is to improve the performance of the staff that remain after the layoffs.