Bank Hapoalim, Israel's leading bank, is raising its credit requirements for funding new hi-tech construction projects. Senior officials at the bank say loan applicants who cannot provide a list of secured tenants in advance will not receive funding approval. So far though, other Israeli banks are not following suit. Bank Leumi and the Israel Discount Bank say that they will continue with their own prudent lending policies, and that each project will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Meanwhile, the downturn in several hi-tech sectors has made Israeli firms more cautious, and many companies are delaying the lease of additional commercial space. Hi tech companies that had intended to increase their work space by a total of 40,000 sq. feet have postponed making the decision until spring, said Adina Cooper, joint CEO of Natam Commercial and Industrial Real Estate.

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