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      Minister: Post Office Banks To Turn "Social"

      Communications Minister Moshe Cachlon says he wants to make Israel's postal banks more "social", to provide service to outlying communities.
      By Malkah Fleisher
      First Publish: 11/23/2009, 10:42 PM / Last Update: 11/23/2009, 11:06 PM

      At a morning meeting Monday on issues pertaining to communications in local government, Communications Minister Moshe Cachlon stated that his office is working on connecting Israel's peripheries to the country's center and on strengthening the periphery's technological infrastructure.

      Minister Cachlon was referring to a new program he initiated, to change the Postal Bank into a "social bank."

      According to the minister's plan, Israel's local post office bank branches, where residents can submit and withdraw money, will become banks for all intents and purposes.

      "There are 170 communities in Israel in which there are no commercial bank branches, only those of the Postal Bank," said Cachlon.  "Postal Bank has 700 branches throughout the country. All other banks combined have only 450 branches."
       
      In the future, postal banks will answer the need for credit in the peripheral areas to assist small businesses. "A normal country cannot have 10% of the people getting 90% of the loans," he said.

      During the meeting, Cachlon also addressed ways to break communications monopolies held by Israeli companies Hot and Bezeq on communications infrastructure.