Bank of Palestine convened its Ordinary General Assembly meeting for the year 2011



The approval to distribute 20% of net profits as stock dividends

Shawa: BoP has enjoyed renewed customer confidence with the number of clients exceeding half a million and shareholders’ equity increasing exponentially in recent years


Bank of Palestine (BoP) held its ordinary annual general assembly meeting on Friday, April 29, 2011 in the bank’s general management’s headquarters in Ramallah and via video conference in the management’s headquarters in Gaza. The Chairman and General Manager of BoP, Mr. Hashim Shawa, along with members of BoP’s Board of Directors, Comptrollers General from the Ministry of National Economy (MoNE), Representatives of BoP’s external auditor Ernest & Young, and Representatives from the Palestinian Exchange (PEX), the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), and the Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA) were present, in addition to shareholders, business people, economist, and media outlets. The Comptrollers General representing the MoNE from the West Bank and Gaza announced the legality of the session, since a majority of the shareholders with a percentage of 61.74 were present.
The agenda of the meeting included the following items: Discussion and ratification of the Board of Directors’ report, discussion and ratification of the 2010 financial statements, Board of Directors’ recommendations, report of the auditors, and the discharge of the members of the Board of Directors for the year 2010.
During the meeting, the general assembly approved the Board of Directors’ recommendation to raise the bank’s capital by 20% through the distribution of $20,000,000 as stock dividends from realized profits to shareholders in proportion to each shareholder’s ownership of paid in capital, raising the bank’s paid in capital from $100 million to $120 million. Meanwhile, the remainder of BoP’s 2010 net profits will be saved as reserves to cope with banking risks, and to fulfill the reserves’ requirement of the Palestinian Companies’ Law.
In his opening speech, Mr. Hashim Shawa presented the bank’s track record and development from a small branch in 1960 to become the largest Palestinian Financial Institution with the largest banking network in Palestine, stressing the bank’s forward-looking path of growth which takes into consideration modern banking services and products. Mr. Shawa also pointed out that this meeting coincides with the bank’s golden jubilee and its 50 year anniversary celebrations. During this time, the bank was able to achieve great achievements, which ensured the bank‘s leading position in the Palestinian economy.
Mr. Shawa also added that despite the difficult circumstances witnessed by global markets and economies, the bank continued growing in 2010 achieving positive results, where net profits increases by 11.88% compared with the year 2009 to reach $30.11 million. In addition, BoP enjoyed renewed customer confidence with the number of clients exceeding half a million, and deposits growing to $1.25 billion in 2010, thus increasing our market share to 18.44% of total customer deposits compared with 16.71% in 2009. Moreover, in 2010 our credit portfolio grew to $545 million in credit facilities, compared with $343 million in 2009, raising our market share of credit facilities to 19.19%, compared with 17.26% in 2009.
As an extension of the bank's policy of local expansion and proliferation with emphasis on providing access to urban centers, as well as rural areas, Shawa added that BoP has opened two new sub-branches; Tarqumiya in the Hebron Governorate, and Yamoun in the Jenin Governorate, bringing the total number of BoP branches and sub-branches in 2010 to 42 spread across the country. BoP is also in the process of constructing a 17 storey tower in the Irsal Center project in Ramallah to serve as its main headquarters. And in line with our regional expansion policies, and the strong relationship between Palestine and Jordan, BoP bought a 9% strategic stake in Invest Bank Jordan. Moreover, in 2010 BoP founded PalPay, a company that provides services that enable clients to electronically pay different utility bills.
In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Mr. Shawa stated that BoP has played an integral role in serving the Palestinian society, through sponsoring and funding several projects and initiatives in different sectors, including: Social, Cultural, Sports, Humanitarian, Educational, and others. In 2010, BoP’s CSR contribution to society reached 5% of its net profits from the previous year, which is equivalent to around $1.5 million.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Shawa assured the shareholders of the continuation of the bank’s growth and development by disclosing BoP’s results in the first quarter of 2011, where the bank’s net profits reached $13.4 million; a 57.18% increase compared with the same period in 2009. Also, during 2011, BoP continued its expansion plans, by opening a 9 storey building in Hebron, to serve as its main branch in the area. Moreover, a sub-branch was also opened in the village of Ni’leen in the Ramallah governorate. Shawa also pointed out that the Bank has finalized the construction of the first electronic branch (e-branch), which is located in Manara Square; the most dynamic area in the city of Ramallah. With these achievements, we continue to be the leading bank in Palestine in terms of branch network, which now includes 45 branches and sub-branches.
Mr. Shawa also extended his gratitude to the contributors of BoP’s success; the loyal shareholders for this continued support and faith in our bank, the employees for their tremendous effort, and our clients for their loyalty and trust. He also thanked the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), headed by Dr. Jihad Al-Wazir, and congratulated them on their achievements in the banking sector, and the recognition they received from international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, which declared that the PMA is ready to assume Central Bank Authority.
The meeting was convened after the general assembly ratified the board of directors’ report and the external auditor’s report, re-elected Ernest & Young as the bank’s external auditors, and discharged the members of the Board of Directors for the year 2010.
Bank of Palestine P.L.C. is the first and the largest national bank in Palestine. It was founded in 1960 and commenced its operations on February 21, 1961 by giving small loans to projects and businesses and giving limited short-term personal loans. Bank of Palestine is the most geographically distributed bank in Palestine spreading from Jenin in the North to Rafah in the South. Bank of Palestine offers many special banking services that meet the customers’ needs and expectations. The Bank has a distinguished management team and a highly qualified professional working staff of around 1000 employees. Bank of Palestine’s stock (PEX: BOP) is listed on the Palestine Exchange.
Bank of Palestine established Al-Wasata Securities Co., the investment arm of the Bank that has two branches in Gaza and Ramallah. During a short period, the firm was able to be the first in terms of the number of newly opened accounts, and the third firm in terms of trading volume among other 9 brokerage firms in Palestine.

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