Bank of Palestine received the Best Bank in the Middle East for Financial Inclusion Award within the classification of EMEA Finance Global magazine for year 2015. Receiving this award is culmination for the Bank’s contributions in developing a comprehensive program to provide services to all social and economic segments, particularly the Bank’s role in empowering Palestinian women to contribute to the economic growth and community development, which was launched under the title “Felestineya”
Mr. Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine, expressed his contentment for the Bank to receive this award, which confirms Bank of Palestine’s leading role towards building a society with an enhanced role for women to participate in the advancement and development process. On the occasion of the International Women Day, Shawa congratulated all Palestinian women who accomplished developmental, social and academic distinctive achievements through their determination, making Palestine proud. Shawa also praised the role of the Bank’s staff, particularly female employees and female customers who put their trust in Bank of Palestine to be their first institution towards achievements and distinction on the national level.
The announcement of the award coincides with the International Women Day. The Financial Inclusion Award is granted by the EMEA Finance Magazine to the financial institutions who took steps towards achieving financial inclusion, in which the Bank took practical steps to implement sustainable developmental projects through its services and policies towards loans, employment, social responsibility, and women empowerments and strengthening the communication and cooperation mechanisms with related entities.
The Bank was distinguished during the past period by launching the “Felestineya” program to empower Palestinian woman internally and externally. The Bank decided to provide Palestinian women a major role to lead initiatives and to lead unique experiences with endless success, contributing to the change process and pushing the productivity wheel forward.
32% of Bank of Palestine’s employees are women
The Bank believes in the local and international studies that proved that the participation and presence of women leads to change and advancement of ideas and achievements, in addition to increasing the productivity and quality of business; accordingly, the Bank took various steps due to its belief in women’s capabilities by increasing the number of female employees at the Bank. Since 2007, the number of female employees doubled from 16% of the bank’s employees to 32% by the end of 2015. The Bank also enhanced the participation of women to take an effective role within the senior management positions. For the first time in history, a woman was elected as a member of the Board of Directors during the elections of the Board by the General Assembly in 2014. The Bank also increased the number of administrative positions for women in branches, sub branches, executive management and other positions.
“Felestineya” Program for Banking Awareness
The Bank continued its plan for financial inclusion towards Palestinian women by launching “Felestineya” Program for Banking Awareness, which began by practical steps through organizing a group of meetings and workshops in various Palestinian governorates, cities, and rural areas, with a goal to reach 1000 women on annual basis.
Mini MBA Program
The Bank continued to enhance the planning and administrative capacities of Palestinian women by implementing the Mini MBA program; the program was launched in order to advance women and businesswomen’s management and planning skills and enhance their capabilities in financial management and marketing, in addition to improving their leadership skills and connecting them with local and international experts.
Best Business Plan Competition for women
The Bank took steps to encourage Palestinian women by launching a business plan competition for women, which culminates the awareness programs conducted by the Bank for Palestinian women, in order to equip them to become capable to manage their new businesses that contribute in the advancement and development process and increase productivity.
Credit Facilitations for Palestinian Women
For the Bank’s programs to become comprehensive, the Bank developed a group of credit facilitations for Palestinian women to help them start their own business. These distinctive programs meet their needs and are compatible with their ability to pay loans; several programs are offered for women’s benefit, such as “Felestineya” Gold Loans, “Felestineya” Gold Loans for Women in Business, and “Felestineya” Collateral Free Loan for Women in Business.
Coverage of annual registration fees for women’s business at the Chambers of Commerce during 2016
In order to encourage women who want to start their own businesses and register their businesses in the Chambers of Commerce, the Bank, through an agreement with the Federation of Chambers and Commerce, will cover the annual registration fees for all women’s businesses in 2016. Accordingly, the Bank’s efforts led to a comprehensive cycle of services, awareness programs, effective communication and sustainable development towards Palestinian women, society and economy.
“Felestineya”.. an awareness Facebook page
These efforts follow the launch of a Facebook awareness page by the Bank to provide women with useful tips in the fields of health, nutrition, upbringing of children and career development; in a short period, the page gathered around 50 thousand followers.
Support to Small Enterprises
This comes along with the remarkable development in the Bank’s support to small enterprises in Palestine, which represent 90% of the components of the Palestinian economy. The Bank exclusively dedicated USD200 million to support small enterprises to add this initiative to its facilitations portfolio for small enterprises, raising its value to more than USD250 million.