|Key figures Impact story|
We aspire to become a valued & distinguished financial and banking institution on both the local and regional levels.
Bank of Palestine is endowed with a mission rooted in a value system that is humane and friendly, promoting real practice of inclusive banking and customer care. We will strive to grow while remaining local at heart with global standards, but energized with agile innovation in finance and banking in order to impact positively human and economic development at home and in the globe.
About Bank of Palestine (BOP)
Bank of Palestine has a long embedded presence and experience in Palestine dating back to 1960. Bank of Palestine is constantly growing to be financially inclusive, and socially responsible at the cutting edge of global financial practice and innovation. The bank has the most widespread branch network in Palestine (74 branches), a paid up capital of $204 million, and assets of over USD 4.95 billion, with 1,731 employees serving more than 917,076 customers. BOP is engaged in retail, corporate, micro & SME, and Diaspora banking operations. BOP is the sole agent for issuing and acquiring Visa and MasterCard in Palestine with over 6,230 Point of Sale merchant terminals nationwide. BOP is involved in large project finance loan syndications. It adopts a holistic sustainability strategy; and has as such worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a stringent risk management & governance structure. BOP has been the leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Palestine dedicating 5% of its net profit to community & human development.
Bank of Palestine’s stock (PEX: BOP) has been listed on the Palestine Exchange (PEX) since 2005. Bank of Palestine prides itself for maintaining a healthy and reliable dividends distribution commitment to its shareholders. For the last 10 years the bank has distributed in both stock dividends and cash dividends between 15%-37% of the par value of the stock annually. We have also seen a significant appreciation in the bank’s market capitalization which was at USD$ 185 million as of Dec 31, 2007 and reached USD $464 million as of December 31, 2018, representing 12.42% of the capitalization of the Palestine Exchange. This consistent distribution of profits has helped the bank maintain a healthy level of capital adequacy; enabling the bank to sustain its growth strategy and in turn honor its shareholder value commitment. The Bank has a diversified shareholder base from international institutional entities; such as the IFC; the private sector arm of the World Bank Group; and other international, local and diaspora investors.
Bank is governed by a 10 members board of directors and 16-member executive team. The Board is entrusted with the overall accountability for the performance of Bank of Palestine. The Board is elected by shareholders to oversee and guide management with the ultimate goal of increasing long-term shareholder value for the bank, while taking into account the interest of its stakeholders. In addition to setting long term strategic and business objectives the board has a key role in assessing major risks facing the bank and setting the level of risk appetite.
In December 2017 Bank of Palestine announced a new structure for the Bank’s group of companies designed to enhance the bank’s overall growth strategy. The strategy will focus on utilizing the group companies’ strengths in order to maximize synergies, economies of scale and core competencies to grow the bank and its subsidiary companies into the future of modernized banking enabling sustained growth at home and in regional and international markets.
In context of this restructuring strategy, Mr. Hashim Shawa is no longer serving as a Chairman and general manager of the bank and is only entrusted with chairmanship of the Bank of Palestine group. Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini was appointed as General Manager for Bank of Palestine and Mr. Hani Nasser as General Manager of our Islamic Banking subsidiary, Arab Islamic Bank
The board is able to effectively oversee the operations through the following Board Committees:
- Audit Committee
- Risk Management Committee
- Human Resources &Corporate Governance Committee
- Executive Committee (for investment and credit)
- Hashim Shawa, Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group
- Maher Jawad Farah, Member
- Hani Hassan Nigim, Member
- Faysal Ghazi Shawa, Member
- Tareq Taher Shaka, Member
- Tarek Al-Aggad, Member
- Lana Abu-Hijleh, Member
- Abdullah Al-Ghanim, Member
- Nada Shousha, Member
- Maha Awwad, Member
Growth via Acquisitions inside Palestine:
In 2016 the bank was able to achieve two important strategic banking acquisition deals. The first deal was a merger deal whereby the Palestine Commercial Bank (PCB); a local commercial bank; that merged with the Bank of Palestine in a share swap of 3:1 in favor of the BOP share. This merger increased the paid up capital of BOP by $10m and allowed its market share to become dominant across all operational indicators. PCB was fully merged with BOP mid-September 2016
The second deal was the acquisition of an additional 31% stake in the Arab Islamic Bank (AIB) in 2016. This share acquisition allows Bank of Palestine to become overnight a majority shareholder in an Islamic Banking operation in Palestine, holding 51.98% of AIB shares. Although AIB will remain an independent subsidiary, this determining block will allow BOP to provide Islamic Banking solutions to a growing segment of the population that require such Islamic Banking services. The market coverage of Islamic banking in Palestine is only at 10% while the potential is at 25%, as such the growth is very promising. This was done as a way to complement BOP’s strength in traditional banking services.
Growth outside Palestine
Internationally, Bank of Palestine remains cognizant of its duty to also serve the more than 7.8 million Palestinians living in the diaspora, in addition to serving investors who are keen to do business with Palestine through offices outside Palestine. As such the bank opened its representative office outside Palestine in Dubai, UAE at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in 2015. A second representative office in Santiago, Chile was opened in 2017 serving that country’s 500,000 Chileans of Palestinian origin with evolving connections with their original home Palestine
Risk Management & Compliance with International Financial Standards
BOP has continued implementing its risk management strategy by enhancing the governance structure through having an active Risk committee and a Risk management function, and Compliance department strengthening its internal controls, spreading risk culture, developing and applying advanced internal rating models for its credit portfolio, and upgrading systems for Basel II implementation. The Palestine Monetary Authority has introduced Basel II instructions to banks operating in Palestine in 2015. Moreover the bank is enhancing its information security policies and procedures to be compliant with ISO 27001/2 information security standards. In 2015 the Palestinian President has also officially decreed Palestinian Anti Money Laundering (AML) and CTF laws strengthening the legal environment in Palestine to combat all illegal activities.
Financial Inclusion through: Products, Services, and Initiatives
As part of the strategy to provide access to finance to all segments, BOP designed a programme for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) segment, as it makes up 90% of the Palestinian economy, yet suffers from lack of financing. The bank in 2015 launched a campaign dedicating USD 200 million to MSMEs in a thrust to raise the credit to this segment of the Palestinian society and Economy. This has raised the percentage of MSME lending to 19% from total loan portfolio.