Israel’s Bank Leumi had a neobank way back in 2017

Israel’s Bank Leumi had a neobank way back in 2017

Bank Leumi has been in the forefront of digitization and adoption of technology quite early and this has benefited its customers:

Israel’s Bank Leumi had a neobank way back in 2017

It was in 2015 that Israel’s largest bank by assets Bank Leumi set up a digital division, basically to oversee the creation of a digital bank, called Pepper. The division also had the responsibility then to establish Leumi Card, the credit card subsidiary of the group. Precisely in the next year, as much as 60% of the bank’s customers were using digital channels to carry out their banking operations and more than 50% of the transactions processed through digital channels.

Since 1981, the bank was a nationalized entity, but today its ownership is largely in private hands with the government as a shareholder. It is one of the largest corporations in the Middle East with an efficient network of branches in Israel and other major financial centers in the world. It offers banking services through dedicated business lines, each of which specializes in providing banking and financial services to a sector of clients with similar characteristics and needs.


In formally launching Pepper in 2017, the bank had a special interest. Basically, it used ‘design thinking’ methodologies and put customers first at every step of the journey. The bank was assisted by global strategic design firm Designit, a specialist in digital and business transformation in this effort.

The technology behind Pepper is Temenos T24 as its core programming with customizations in financial management software for use in retail, mobile, universal and corporate banking, among other types.

Pepper is essentially aimed at millennials and it is operated by users using only a smartphone; there are no branches, not even a website. The digital bank offers basic banking services, including checking, saving, loans and credit-card services.

Pepper allows customers in the range of 16-18 years to open their current account. So far, only those above the age of 18 were allowed to have bank accounts. But with the launch of Pepper, those in the 16-18 age group were also privileged to operate their own accounts using a smartphone from anywhere and at any time and without the need of holding an existing account.


The bank has been in the forefront of technology implementation for years on. It had engaged GigaSpaces Technologies, a leading provider of Digital Integration Hub software solutions, to power its digital innovation. The bank has also made a strategic investment of $8 million in GigaSpaces. Using the Digital Integration Hub, the bank is fast-tracking deployment of several digital applications with ultra-high performance and scale. The solution enables organizations to rapidly develop and introduce a large number of new digital services by decoupling their API-powered digital applications from their Systems of Record, to simplify and speed up their digital transformation.

The bank has recently concluded an agreement with Tarya Fintech to develop and adapt its mortgage system into a fully digital one. The system takes care of the customers’ needs and financial decisions at various stages of their lives. It gives customers a state-of-the-art, user-friendly and transparent experience across the entire process, at the time and place of the customer’s choosing.


The bank has also partnered with EasySend, a no-code platform, which transforms any manual process or form into a digital journey quickly, to accelerate its customers’ mortgage approval time and reduce friction. The process developed has disrupted a country-wide banking requirement for customers to meet with a mortgage agent in a branch for a mortgage proposal. The platform has enabled the bank and its customers to send and receive data online, obtain a mortgage through unique digital customer journey. The bank has subsequently built an internal process whereby all departments use the system developed – be it business bank account opening, covid-specific use cases, any type of loans, or even onboarding new bank employees.

Leumi Bank’s Leumi Card is using AI to fight frauds. The bank is using a platform developed by Feedzai to enhance its fraud detection and prevention capabilities, while continuing to provide a frictionless omnichannel experience for its customers. The technology utilizes machine learning that allows users to create profiles of normal behavior, and flag instances of abnormal behavior, to detect and prevent criminal threats in real time with high accuracy.


The bank is also an early user of cloud to transition itself into an entity that is capable of a consistent, scalable approach to deployments, thereby saving time and increasing innovation. The bank is using Amazon Web Services, specifically Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS).

When it launched Pepper, it had chosen VMWare’s solutions to support this new business. It used VMWare cloud management systems not just to support the platform, but to also create and manage mobile security solutions. As it progressed, it used VMWare solutions in its other digitization efforts as well, like modernizing data centers and digital workspaces.

This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.