The two largest banks in Israel, Leumi and Hapoalim, announced that they would cut hundreds of jobs through layoffs and forced retirements. Both banks said the plans were part of a new push towards efficiency and streamlining.

The Haaretz daily reported on Sunday that Leumi plans to cut some 800 jobs at the bank in 2013, and Hapoalim intends, within a year and a half, to cut some 25-30 percent of its workforce. The banking sector employs about 10,000 people, and the cuts are estimated to total around 1,600.

The cuts are in response to a Bank of Israel ruling that requires banks to reduce commission costs and extra fees in 2013.

Bank Leumi reported that its net profit tripled in the third quarter of 2012, and Hapoalim reported a 32% increase in profits over the same period, according to separate Globes articles from last week.