After 60 years and more than $32 billion in sales, State of Israel Bonds is rebranding itself to give it a new profile and relevancy in the midst of a worldwide economic slowdown.
As part of its makeover, the organization has unveiled a new logo and begun selling bonds online, something it has been striving to do for several years. The difficulty was that State of Israel Bonds is only the middleman — it does not hold securities nor does it handle money and all online transactions must comply with federal laws.
“So for us, being online is a big deal,” said Neil Lieberman, Israel Bonds’ chief fiscal officer.
State of Israel Bonds, the sole underwriter and distributor of Israel Bonds, continues to maintain offices that actively sell bonds and will continue to run events to sell them.
“This is just an enhancement to our business model,” Lieberman said of the online sales, which began Sept. 19. “It enables us to distribute bonds to a wider stream of customers.”
To date, online sales have totaled more than $3 million — many of them bought by new customers, according to a spokesman for the organization. Online purchases are currently available in the U.S. only.
Israel Bonds are sold online in the same denominations they are sold through their offices — $100, $1,000 and $5,000. The $100 denomination may be bought in $50 increments.
Although Israel Bonds will send a notice to those receiving bonds for bar or bat mizvah gifts, “more often than not those who buy bonds on the Internet will generate their own card electronically and download it,” Lieberman said.
“You can’t use credit cards because the money goes directly to the State of Israel,” Lieberman said.
Instead, individuals are able to make purchases through electronic debit of their checking accounts. “It’s an immediate credit to the State of Israel, like automatic bill payment,” Lieberman explained.
The new logo of State of Israel Bonds is in the shape of a menorah and includes the seal of the State of Israel.
“This is all part of a move to revamp the image of a venerable organization and give it a new profile, residence and relevance in today’s digital marketplace,” said a spokesman.
He said the organization expects to meet its goal of selling at least $1 billion in bonds worldwide by the end of the year — $600 million in the U.S. The money is used for economic development projects in Israel.
“We have done very well in sales, but times change and people change and we had to change to keep up with a new generation,” said the spokesman. “Nobody does business the way they did in the past.”
As part of the rebranding effort, State of Israel Bonds has launched a major advertising program that includes exposure in social media and various digital sites.
“We want all Jews to be connected and a part of Israel with their investment,” the spokesman added.