"There is a general agreement that, both in an absolute manner and relative to other economies, the Israeli economy's starting condition for 2014 are very good following the approval of next year's budget, the improvement in the labor market, which reduced the unemployment rate to some 6%, and the significant improvement in the current account of the balance of payments, which will reach about 3% of GDP in the coming year," the two said in a statement.
"All this has contributed to the reaffirmation of Israel's credit rating at the high A+ level by the S&P agency, an achievement which impressed our colleagues."
Seroussi and Kenan hosted dozens of senior bankers, economists and financial figures from the United States and other countries for a breakfast at Washington's Four Seasons Hotel.
"The annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund gives us an opportunity to meet with representatives of international investment banks which are showing an interest in Israel, and present them with a stable economy and an interesting investment potential, especially in light of the ongoing slowdown in most developed economies," the Bank Hapoalim executives said.
"During our meetings we sense a clear increase in the interest shown in the Israeli economy. It's important to note, however, that the investors, as well as the bankers, stress the importance of a business-supporting environment, and especially economic, financial and security-related stability.
"The message to our policy makers is clear: The good work done in the past few years, which led to the relative strength shown by the Israeli economy during the global crisis years, must continue."
'Decisive, aggressive policy needed'Seroussi and Kenan were under the impression that Israel's intensive investment activity in infrastructure and energy, including using natural gas discoveries, and in diverse high-tech areas, are raising a lot of interest among potential foreign investors.
"In the global economic environment, which is still showing signs of weakness, the Israeli economy has an opportunity to establish and strengthen its positive international status even more," they said, reiterating their recommendation to the government to set an annual growth target of at least 4% for the economy in 2014.
"Although the current IMF forecast is that Israel's growth rate will only reach 3.3% in 2014, in our opinion such a forecast should not be accepted, and a more decisive and aggressive policy should be set in order to return the Israeli economy to a more suitable growth rate, which it can definitely reach."
During the convention, the Hapoalim executives held meetings with heads of some of the world's leading banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Japan's Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and Nomura.
In these meetings, Seroussi, Kenan and their colleagues discussed the developments in the global economy, the changes in the banking industry and opportunities for business cooperation. They also participated in a G30 seminar with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
At the same time in Washington, Hapoalim was awarded the "best bank in Israel" title from Global Finance magazine. During the ceremony, the magazine handed out awards to banks in 27 developed countries, which were selected based on criteria like growth in assets, profitability, development of new activities, innovative products and customer service.
CEO Kenan, who thanked the magazine, said that winning the title for the second year in a row marked the international recognition in the excellence and impressive achievements of Bank Hapoalim, which continues to lead the Israeli banking system.