Discount Bank Execs Face Pay Cuts

Israel Discount Bank is getting out the knives for executive salaries in 2009.

The bank, which for years has been plagued by inefficiency and bad blood between labor and management, is insisting on wage cuts in its negotiations with the unions representing both executives and clerks.

Bank CEO Giora Ofer and chairman Shlomo Zohar have already taken a one-year, 10% wage cut, and on Thursday board members were informed that their salaries were being cut by 7.5%.

Now the bank wants to slice 5.5% from the salaries of about 300 executives, in addition to erasing the traditional "13th month" extra salary for about 1,300 execs. Overtime hours and car-mileage reimbursements are also to be cut across the board.

Discount Bank was privatized in early 2005, but the move seems to have done little to improve the company's efficiency.

It's at the bottom of the league on that score, but its rivals are not much better. According to the banking supervisor in 2006, salary expenses at Israeli banks as measured against employees' added value is among the highest in the world.