Bank of Palestine (BOP) held its 47th ordinary annual General Assembly Meeting (AGM) on Friday, April 26, 2013 at the bank’s headquarters in Ramallah and in Gaza via video conference.
The General Assembly approved the board of directors’ report, the financial statements for the year 2012, the external auditor’s report, and the board of directors’ remuneration. The General assembly endorsed the recommendation of BOP’s board of directors to distribute USD 26,050,000 from realized profits to shareholders as follows (in proportion to each shareholder’s ownership in paid capital as of April 25, 2013):
•USD 16 million as stock dividend raising the bank’s paid-up capital to USD 150 million
•USD 10,050,000 as cash dividend
The General Assembly also appointed Ernst & Young as the external auditor for the financial year 2013 and authorized the bank’s board of directors’ to appropriate the auditor’s remuneration.
In his speech, Chairman and General Manager, Hashim Shawa stated: “2012 was not a very easy year due to the political unrest that Palestine witnessed last year, however, Bank of Palestine, proved to be resilient. In 2012, BOP’s profits before tax reached USD 49,966,888 an increase of 19.34% compared with 2011. The bank’s net profit reached USD 38,347,397 - for the year 2012; an increase of 12.85% compared with 2011. As at the end of 2012, Bank of Palestine's total assets reached USD 2,004,494,095 - maintaining the top rank as the largest Palestinian company in terms of financial assets, total shareholders' equity reached USD 220,973,909, an increase of 13.67% compared with 2011, and paid-up capital also increased by 11.67% to reach USD 134,000,000. During this period, the bank’s market share has also significantly increased to reach 23.75% and 20.79% in loans and deposits respectively, compared with 20.5% and 18.6% in 2011; deposits reached USD 1.55 billion, an increase of 19.89% compared with 2011 and the loans portfolio reached USD 976 million compared with USD 720 million at the end of 2011; an increase of 35.58%. NPLs at BOP decreased to reach only 1.61% in 2012.”
Shawa also mentioned several developments that took place in 2012, including; opening two new branches for the bank – Al-Masyoun branch in Ramallah, and a sub-branch in the industrial area in Betounya, maintaining its position as the leading bank in Palestine in terms of number of branches; completing the final stage of the risk management project, enhancing the bank’s risk management frameworks. The bank introduced several new products during the year; a mortgage product, a children’s savings campaign, a prepaid Visa card, and a small business loan for fishermen. In addition to launching the services of its subsidiary company PalPay®, an electronic payment solutions gateway. BOP also pursued new sources of income by signing agreements with several Palestinian banks to issue credit cards for their clients. Moreover, as part of its holistic sustainability strategy, Bank of Palestine continued to contribute 5% of its annual net profit to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Shawa ended by extending his gratitude to the shareholders for their continued confidence in the bank’s work, to the clients for their loyalty, to the employees for their award winning performance, and to the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) for its ongoing support and its efforts to improve the regulatory framework under which BOP operates and which contributes to the development of the Palestinian economy.