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July 07, 1995 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-07

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It is likely that she will con-
Another thorny manpower is-
sue is Leumi's workers' pension tinue Mr. Friedman's policy of
structure. Leurni employees are scaling back the bank's U.S. op-
entitled to budgetary pensions — eration, which has lost $400 mil-
the bank is committed to pay lion in the last four years.
Some observers criticize her
them predetermined sums.
Every time the capital market lack of knowledge of the bank's
falls, the amount the bank has overseas operations. She will
provided becomes inadequate have her work cut out, they say,
and the bank is forced to make coming to grips with what has
further provisions against its been Leumi's most problematic
liabilities, thus hurting profit- segment over the last few years.
Another concern is her lack of
Ms. Maor is not revealing corporate banking experience.
much about her plans. There are Leumi, which counts among its
no hints of any major changes clients the overwhelming major-
among the bank's senior person- ity of the country's biggest com-
nel. Nor have there been any ob- panies, is under attack from all
vious defections. There were no sides. Competition to lend is cut-
other serious internal candidates throat and the smaller local
for the job and top managers at banks — led by First Inter-
Leumi like and respect Ms. Maor, national — have been taking
whom they view as a team play- market share from the bigger
ones. LI
er and talented leader.

Structural Reforms
Are Needed

Jerusalem — Ten years after the
1985 economic stabilization pro-
gram, the economy is not grow-
ing as fast as expected due to the
failure of implementing neces-
sary structural reforms, World
Bank Vice President Michael
Bruno and International Mone-
tary Fund (IMF) Deputy Direc-
tor Stanley Fisher said.
Although one of the results of
the stabilization program was in-
troducing fiscal discipline with
lower deficits, Mr. Bruno point-
ed out that the government con-
tinues its high levels of spending
which are financed through high
Mr. Bruno, who spoke at the
Israeli Economic Association's
seminar, "A Decade Since the
Economic Stabilization Program
of 1985: Lessons and Conclu-
sions," in Jerusalem, noted that
just as it was 10 years ago, large
sectors of the economy — such as
the defense industries and kib-
butzim — still depend on gov-
ernment largesse. "All of those
which were nursing from the
budget are still nursing from it,"
he said.
Mr. Bruno also criticized the
government's failure to reform
monopolies and to push forward
privatization. He especially took
exception with the proposed pen-
sion reform which guarantees
pension funds special, non-trade-
able government bonds with an
above-market yield of 5 percent.
"The way in which the gov-
ernment guarantees a 5 percent
return rolls back the capital mar-
ket reforms," he said.
Mr. Fisher, who was involved
on the American side of the sta-
bilization program, admitted that
one of his mistakes at the time
was not insisting on structural
reforms. "One real disappoint-

ment is that the reforms didn't
take place," he said.
Pointing to the balance of pay-
ment gap amounting to 6 percent
of the Gross Domestic Product,
Mr. Fisher said, "There are
things to warn about."
Referring to accusations that
emerged after the report's publi-
cation, claiming the Bank of
Israel had a hand in its drafting,
he said, "It is a great sport to fig-
ure out whether the IMF sides
with the Bank of Israel or the
Mr. Fisher said he saw in the
industrialists' argument that
lower interest rates in exchange
for a little more inflation does not
hurt — which he also heard 10
years ago — proof that "it was
a stabilization that came too

Toys 'IR' Us
Will Open

Jerusalem — With internation-
al executives on hand, the local
franchise holder for Toys `It' Us
formally announced that the first
branch is slated to open here "at
the end of the summer" — de-
fined as mid-August to mid-Sep-
Leon Koffler of the Super-
Pharm group said the initial
store, in the Haifa Bayside area,
is expected to have an annual
turnover "in excess of $10 mil-
lion, though perhaps not in the
first year."
The second branch is to open
before Pesach at Kibbutz She-
fayim, near Netanya. Within
three or four years, there are ex-
pected to be five or six branches.
The franchise for Israel is held
by Koffler and David Solomon of


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