Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine (BoP), stated that the bank’s net profit for 2010 reached US $ 30,119,496, compared to US $ 26,921,028 in 2009, an increase of 11.88%. The financial statements at the end of the year 2010 also indicate that the bank's assets amounted to US $1,545,038,022 compared to US $ 1,283,017,502 at the end of 2009, an increase of 20.42%. In 2010 customer deposits reached US $ 1,251,482,935 compared to US $ 1,016,683,776 for the year 2009, an increase of 23.09%. Also in 2010, net credit facilities granted to customers reached U.S. $ 545,026,391, an increase of 58.75% from the year 2009. The shareholders equity also, increased to reach U.S. $ 163 882 590. Shawa also pointed to the bank’s high market share of banking facilities and deposits, which reached 18% confirming BoP’s credibility in the public eye.
Shawa also mentioned that as part of its ongoing efforts and commitment to the clients, the bank continued to develop and diversify its products and services to meet the clients’ aspirations and needs. Year 2010 witnessed an increase of programs and services, such as the following:
Launching a special savings account program entitled (With you every step). This program targeted all members of the family. Through this program specific programs were designed targeting women, students, children, and all family members to encourage a culture of saving by giving them outstanding prizes and gifts of which are: a monthly salary for life, 50 scholarships to high school students, providing an immediate US $50 gift for each child who opens a new account, and weekly draw for women on 1,000 BoP shares.
Moreover, many special lending programs were introduced in 2010 to meet the requirements of all sectors and segments in Palestine. Lending programs to finance small and medium enterprises, which represent a large segment of the Palestinian economy, were introduced. In addition we have funded several large projects in several sectors including tourism and services. And to meet the needs of our customers, we have established a system for financing real estate loans, which will be activated during the year 2011.
And for the first time in Palestine, BoP launched a distinctive program called the Green Loan Program. The objective of this program is to encourage the implementation of “green” systems, including and the building of water wells, the installation of wastewater treatment systems that provide water for irrigation of arable land, and alternative energy systems. This program will help the lender reach a level of self-reliance and cut down on monthly electricity, water, and other bills.
Also, in terms of electronic services, we have developed a range of new electronic services to provide our clients with services around the clock. Moreover, we have increased the number of Points of Sale (POS) to reach around 4,000, spread throughout Palestine. We have supported this effort with promotional campaigns to increase awareness and to establish a stronger culture of dealing with cards.
In cooperation with our strategic partner, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and to support our financial position, we have had achievements in regards to risk management and governance, in accordance with best international practices and standards. In this regard, we have developed a risk management structure, systems, procedures, and processes, as well as promoted and strengthened corporate governance practices. This was necessary in order to keep pace with the rapid growth of BoP’s activities, and the steady increase in the number of clients, facilities, deposits, and the geographical spread of the bank. Given the importance of risk management, we have developed the organizational structure of the Bank of Palestine to fit with the new procedures and policies.
As an extension of the bank's policy of local expansion and proliferation, 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 to 42 spread across the country. Shawa also pointed out that the Bank has finalized the construction of the first electronic branch (e-branch), which is located on the Manara Square, which is the most dynamic area in the city of Ramallah and in Palestine. The Bank also completed the construction of a seven-floor building in Hebron, which will serve as the main branch in this strategic and vital area. This new branch is expected to provide more comfort and better service to citizens in Hebron.
In line with our regional expansion policies, and the strong relationship between the Palestine and Jordan, BoP bought a strategic stake in Investment Bank Jordan. This move was based on a careful study that illustrated the growth potential in Jordan and in its banking sector.
Shawa took this opportunity to thank all the bank’s employees for their effort and for boosting the success of their bank, the First National Bank of Palestine. The chairman also thanked the bank’s loyal clients and shareholders for their continuous support and loyalty, and assured them of BoP’s commitment to serve their needs and provide them with the services they deserve, while abiding by best practices and good corporate governance.
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 with a banking network of 42 branches and sub-branches 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.