Bank of Palestine Group announced its financial results for the year ended 2019, achieving profits in the amount of $38.9 million. Mr. Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, stated that the achieved results were satisfactory, despite the difficult economic and political situation confronted by Palestine in light of the financial crisis that struck the economy and resulted in withholding clearance revenues for over six consecutive months, liquidity problems and accumulation of government debts, and a continuing decline in external grants and aids, all of which had a negative impact on GDP growth and all economic indicators.
Al Shawa stated that despite the many challenges confronted by the Palestinian economy, the Group achieved an increase in most financial data and results: assets increased by approximately $610 million to reach $5.2 billion, compared with $4.6 billion, at a growth rate of 13%; and customer deposits increased to over $381 million to reach $4.1 billion, compared with $3.7 billion, at a growth rate of 10.2%. These results reflect the trust of customers and depositors in the comprehensive services provided by the Group.
Al Shawa added that the Group’s credit facilitation increased by 11% to reach approximately $3 billion, compared with $2.6 billion during the previous year. Shareholder equities also increased to $430.6 million, at a rate of 4%, and paid capital increased to reach $204 million, at a rate of 2%, thus promoting the bank’s solvency and financial soundness.
Al Shawa expressed satisfaction in the growth of operational transactions achieved by Bank of Palestine Group during the previous year, which revealed a growth in all financial indicators and data at a rate exceeding 13%. He pointed out that net profits were affected after the allocation of revenues under the designation of impairment allowance for credit facilitations, in accordance with the instructions of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, taking precautions to counter credit risks or any other future shocks. “Taking these results into consideration, the Bank’s Board meeting will be held on 27 February to discuss the percentages for the distribution of profits upon the recommendations and decisions of the General Assembly, whose date will be determined during the next Board meeting,” stated Al Shawa. “Several international organizations expressed interest in entering the Palestinian market by investing and partnering with Bank of Palestine in several developmental projects,” he added. Al Shawa pointed out that the Palestinian market remains to be a promising one, since a large percentage of citizens in Palestine do not own bank accounts.
Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini, the General Director of Bank of Palestine, stated that the bank recorded several achievements at the level of operations and projects during 2019. According to Ghalayini, “Bank of Palestine Group owns a loan portfolio that covers all economic and social sectors, and has the largest share in the Palestinian market.” “The bank managed to achieve growth due to the efficiency of its staff and the diversity of banking products and services offered, adding to that, the efficient control over operational expenses, whereby net interests and commissions from main banking transactions grew by 4% due to the revenue enhancement and good governance of fund sources,” stated Ghalayini. “This explains the growth achieved in various financial indicators, most importantly the growth of operational revenues, assets, deposits and credit facilitations,” he added.
Ghalyini stressed the resilience of the financial center due to the strength of its assets and high liquidity, as well as its operational efficiency, whereby the bank continued to maintain a liquidity rate of 72%, despite the recession indicators in the Palestinian market.
“Last year, the bank focused on implementing several programs that promote its administrative and technical strengths,” stated Ghalayini. “The bank took large steps at the level of organizing the administrative structures of its departments and branches in accordance with advancements in banking systems around the world, thus reflecting this year’s performance,” he added. In addition, the bank managed to implement several projects that aim to achieve higher levels of financial inclusion, by developing technological tools and banking service applications for smart phones, implementing programs that target children, youth and women, raising awareness about banking services in marginalized areas, promoting the culture of using online banking services, and preparing for the upcoming launch of the online portfolio through PalPay company.
According to Ghalayini, “the bank is working side by side with the Palestinian communities, and will always remembers its responsibility towards the various developmental sectors, stemming from its efforts in the field of corporate social responsibility, for which 5% of profits are allocated to support education, health, culture, and other fields.” In conclusion, Ghalayini praised the efforts conducted by the Palestinian Monetary Authority to promote banking stability and establish a strong and robust financial system. Ghalayini also commended the loyalty and belonging expressed by the Bank of Palestine family and providing the best possible services to customers.