Bank of Palestine took home nine awards granted by Global Finance magazine during 2019 after developing several innovative electronic banking solutions and designing unique services that respond to the needs of all its customers during the past few years. These services were offered electronically and laid the foundation for its pioneering efforts in the banking business, earning it the award for the most innovative bank in the Middle East.
The awards earned by the bank were announced during the first round of the annual event organized by Global Finance magazine for the distribution of awards of appreciation 2019. The event was held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates under the title “Global Finance ‘s Digital Bank and Innovators Awards | Middle East 2019.” During the ceremony winners from the Middle East were selected from an array of fields that include best service for bill payments, best mobile banking application and most innovative digital bank.
Bank of Palestine won many awards on the level of countries in the Middle East including, best bank for digital services provided to customers, best bank for mobile banking services, best mobile banking application for individual customers, best bank in the fields of creativity and innovation, best bank for electronic payments and purchases, best bank for digital services for companies and organizations, best bank for internet cash management, most comprehensive bank for corporate banking services, and the most innovative bank in the fields of technology and banking solutions.
Global Finance Magazine pointed out that the winners were selected following an evaluation process conducted by a world-renowned awarding committee from Infosys, which is a leading global company working in the fields of consulting, technology and outsourcing, and editors from Global Finance who had the final say in selection all the winners.
The magazine indicated that criteria for choosing the winning Foreign Exchange Providers in based on the exceptional achievements of these institutions in the face of the difficult circumstances under which international financial market live and the different circumstances of each market. Winning banks were chosen based on the following criteria: strategic power to attract and service customers digitally, success in convincing customers to use provided digital services, increase in digital customers and expansion of product offers through applications, proof of substantial benefits earned through digital initiatives, the quality of mobile site design, and attracting jobs through the website. Global Finance Magazine pointed out that details about all the winners during the first round of 2019 will be announced in its next issue.
Mr. Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, expressed his enthusiasm about receiving these awards and congratulated his team for a work well done during the past few years to deserve such an honor. He pointed out that Bank of Palestine provides a wide range of comprehensive digital services that could be described as “exceptional” considering their ability to compete on an international level on the one hand, and their contribution to facilitating the lives and transactions of customers, on the other.
Al Shawa pointed out that this achievement is proof for the bank’s commitment to provide the best and state of the art banking services in Palestine, adhering to the highest international standards, in addition to its keenness on setting a work example that works for the interest of various economic groups and segments benefiting from its products and services. “The bank dedicated its work to become one of the most important financial institutions in the region by innovating and developing services that facilitate customer transactions, making it a pioneer in digital technology in the region,” stated Al Shawa. “Last year, the bank launched the slogan “we invest in digital technology” to promote its interest in this field,” he added.
Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini, the General Director of Bank of Palestine, stated that the great many efforts conducted by the bank, topped by the ongoing development of digital services are a translation of the bank’s strategy to further confirm its presence and pioneering efforts in the digital world. Services provided involve several digital tools including fixed phones, ordinary and smart mobile phones, tablets, and the internet, allowing all individuals who own these tools to have access to services offered by Bank of Palestine. According to Ghalayini, fixed phones enable customers to obtain information and services through the customer information center, normal phones enable them to obtain services through the USSD service that was recently launched by the bank, while smart phones enable them to obtain services through the Banki application, and the tablet and internet enable them to obtain approximately 70% of bank services without the need to visit bank branches and offices.
Ghalayini added: “considering the bank’s belief in the importance of electronic banking services, and its interest to become a leader in this field in Palestine, we invested in developing a special system for these services that coincided with the launch of the third edition of the Banki mobile application that includes new updates and special features, allowing the bank to stand out among other banks that operate in the Palestinian market.” The Banki mobile application is available on Google Play and Android and offers an option and a special feature that is considered the first of its kind in Palestine, allowing its user to register him/herself and benefit from the available electronic services without the need to visit any bank branch.
The application and the internet banking service provided by the bank facilitates cash transfers for Bank of Palestine customers and customers of other bank, both locally and abroad, in a fast and easy manner. The relevant mechanism for such transfers takes into consideration a number of regulations and controls, making the transaction safe, timely and easy – a feature not offered by other banks. The application also offers customers the opportunity to benefit from other services including stopping a visa card or an ATM card in the incidence of loss or theft, ordering cheque books, or changing customer passwords.
The developments of electronic services offered by the bank, especially the Banki application and internet banking, were implemented based on a public poll, specifically bank customers, to identify the nature of their needs, evaluate available services and propose the necessary developments and amendments that they deemed necessary.
The technical environment and digital systems underwent careful analysis and evaluation by a global company that inspected the safety of information security systems and the extent of their compliance with international standards.
When it concerns social media platforms, the bank has over 700,000 followers on its Facebook page, and the Felestineya page, which supports women and promotes their participation in economic and social life, has over 50,000 followers. These pages are not only limited to Bank of Palestine news, activities and service, but also involve social and awareness campaigns implemented by the bank, especially in the field of corporate social responsibility, for which the bank allocates approximately 6% of its profits on an annual basis. These pages are interactive and respond to customer inquiries.
The information center also underwent several developments and adopted a special international system that allows it to operate efficiently and effectively. The center includes around 20 staff members who provide direct assistance to customers from 8:00 AM to 18:00 PM, and after-hours inquiries are handled the next day.
It is important to mention that Global Finance magazine was established in New York in 1987. It specializes in the field of banking operation, financial institutions and banking services, and its duty is to assist heads of companies, bankers and investors to draw the path for world trade and finance. Every year, the magazine conducts a selection process for the world’s best financial institutions. The awards granted by Global Finance have become a world-renowned and accredited standard for excellence.