Bank of Palestine continued to remain profitable despite a challenging year on the political and economic fronts
October 27, 2014: Bank of Palestine (BOP), the leading Palestinian bank, reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2014
Q3 2014 Results Highlights
- Operating income increased by 4.96% compared with the same period in 2013 to reach USD 86.1 million
- Profit before tax reached USD 36.12 million compared with USD 38.59 for the same period in 2013
- Net profit of USD 27.7 million compared with USD 29.3 million for the same period in 2013
- Total assets reached USD 2.5 billion compared with USD 2.35 billion at the end of 2013
- Total shareholders' equity reached USD 269 million compared with USD 252 million in 2013, an increase of 6.77%
- Customer deposits at USD 1.98 billion, up 13.48% from USD 1.75 billion at the previous year-end
- Loans at USD 1.14 billion, up 3.29% compared to USD 1.1 billion at the end of 2013, with an increase of 30% in the MSME portfolio
- NPLs remain low at 2.43%
Results and Achievements in the First Nine Months of 2014
Bank of Palestine reported an operating income of USD 86,096,300 in the first nine months of 2014, compared with 82,026,535 for the same period in 2013, an increase of 4.96%. The bank’s profit before tax reached USD 36,120,254 compared with 38,594,438 in the third quarter of 2013, and net profit for the same period reached USD 27,647,656 compared with 29,295,406 for the same periods, a decrease in 5.62%.Bank of Palestine's total assets increased by 6.39% to reach USD 2,498,126,207 - maintaining the top rank as the largest Palestinian company in terms of financial assets. Total shareholders' equity reached USD 269,085,922, an increase of 6.77%% compared with end of 2013. During this period, the bank’s loans portfolio reached USD 1,139,973,411 compared with USD 1,103,641,018 at the end of 2013, an increase of 3.29%. The loan portfolio of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) increased during this period by 30%, which is in line with the bank’s strategy to support these business that make up around 90% of the Palestine economy. Moreover, the bank’s NPL ratio remained low at 2.43%.
The Palestine Monetary Authority’s newly established deposit insurance scheme accounted for around USD 3.5 million of the bank’s operational expenses. Launched in 2014, the scheme aims at safeguarding small depositors as well as maintaining the stability of the banking system in an effort to mobilize more savings, thus enabling banks to play a better role in economic growth. Bank of Palestine’s customer deposits reached USD 1,980,876,363 at the end of September 2014, an increase of 13.48% compared with end of 2013. This high increase can be attributed to the increased trust the scheme provided depositors, in addition to the bank’s wide outreach and widespread branch network.
Commenting on the bank’s performance, Hashim Shawa – Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine said: “I am pleased to report that Bank of Palestine has continued achieving sustainable profitable growth. The first nine months of 2014 have been extremely challenging with an unstable political and economic environment, and the devastating war on the Gaza Strip, which lasted over 50 days. Our business continuity plans and our perseverance were put to the test once again, and Bank of Palestine proved to be resilient despite the difficulties and challenges. The bank was able to achieve positive results in all our main KPIs, which is attributed to the resilience of the bank and that of its clients in addition to the bank’s sound strategies, solid risk management and control functions, and strong brand. Imagine what we could achieve if we were operating under better circumstances.”
The bank continued its commitment to provide wider access to finance and transacting services. Bank of Palestine continues to be Palestine's leading bank in terms of banking network, with 50 branches making up around a quarter of all bank branches in Palestine. In 2014 two new sub-branches were opened;one in the village of Bedya in the Salfit governorate and the other in the town of Bani Shuheila in Khan Younes. The bank plans to open two additional sub-branches before the end of the year. In addition, the bank installed ATM machines in all the main branches that accept cash and check deposits. Moreover, in line with the bank’s environmental policies, Bank of Palestine installed solar energy systems to operate its ATMs in different locations. These systems ensure that they continue to operate during a crisis where there are electricity or fuel shortages. As for electronic services, the bank added electronic bill payment services to its online banking platform, where clients can pay their different utility bills and top up their mobile phones online. Our branch and ATM network, and electronic services have made access to banking for clients possible and easy wherever they are located, allowing BOP to maintain and grow its customer base.
Gender inclusion and women empowerment is an integral part of the bank’s strategy. In 2014, Bank of Palestine became a member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), and a signatory of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Global Compact and UN Women to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
During the last three quarters the bank held several roadshows to connect with the Palestinian Diaspora in Latin America, North America, and the Middle East. As part of these efforts, preparations are underway to open a representative office at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) before the end of the year. Moreover, during a recent trip to Chile, President Michelle Bachelet was pleased to learn of Bank of Palestine’s plans and intentions to open a representative office in Chile, and expressed her full support and willingness to facilitate with the relevant authorities.
In 2014 Bank of Palestine was recognized by several prestigious institutions as the “Best Bank in Palestine”. These institutions include: Euromoney, Global Finance, The Banker, EMEA Finance, Banker Middle East, and the Middle East Investor Relations Society. The bank also receivedthe award for Best CSR Program in the Middle East by EMEA Finance.