Ramallah, Palestine (April 9th, 2018):  Bank of Palestine Group (BOP), convened its Assembly General Meeting on 29th of March, 2018 in Ramallah, and via video conference in Gaza. The Ordinary and Extraordinary meeting approved the board recommendation to the General Assembly for the distribution of USD 27 million in cash dividends for the bank’s profits in 2017, a percentage of 13.5 % of the bank’s paid up capital. During the ordinary meeting, the General Assembly also approved the appointment of a new Board of Directors. While the Extraordinary Assembly General Meeting mandated the Board of Directors to work on raising the Bank's capital from USD$ 200 million to USD$ 250 million.

Commenting on the meeting, Mr. Hashim Shawa - Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group said: “We have shared our 2017 results with our Shareholders and presented our future growth plans for the entire Bank of Palestine Group. We have asked our shareholders to support our efforts in maintaining a modernized banking operation while forging ahead against some key external market challenges. In order to meet these challenges, we have embarked on modernizing the corporate structure across the group's operations providing more focus on strategic goals in addition to operational synergies across group companies both at home and in the international market place. During the Extraordinary General Assembly, we were also granted as a board of directors the mandate to work on raising the capital of Bank of Palestine to USD$ 250 million. This would provide the bank with the ability to continue its growth strategy creating value for all shareholders"

Mr. Shawa added; "Our shareholders have approved the appointment of a new board of directors to steward the Bank of Palestine group during the next 4 years towards more sustained growth and modernization. Today Bank of Palestine is proud to have 3 leading women on its board bringing to bear their banking, business and community service experience to the bank's board. We are fortunate to have a board of directors that is diversified in experience spanning banking and economic development; including representation from the region."

Two new Board Members have joined the new board. Ms. Maha Awad is a business leader who heads the Palestinian Business Women Council; and was the head of the Palestinian Shippers Council. She comes from a strong trading and construction background. Dr. Nabil Qaddumi, a seasoned business leader from Kuwait with wide experience in Project Management through his Chairmanship of Projacs Co., which he founded with a portfolio of managing mega construction projects across GCC and the Levant. Dr. Qaddumi has been the Governor for Palestine at key Arab Funds and Financial Development Institutions in the region, which are important funders for key economic activities in the region.

Shareholders also applauded key milestones achieved in 2017; particularly the opening of the Chile Representative Office tapping the diaspora potential in the Latin America region and bridging opportunities with the Dubai Representative Office and Palestine head office. In addition to opening the branch in East Jerusalem serving a captive population of 250,000 people.

About Bank of Palestine (BOP)

Bank of Palestine has a long embedded presence and experience in Palestine dating back to 1960. Bank of Palestine is constantly growing to be financially inclusive, and socially responsible at the cutting edge of global financial practice and innovation. The bank has the most widespread branch network in Palestine (71 branches), a paid up capital of $200 million, and assets of over USD 4.88 billion, with 1,706 employees serving more than 890,000 customers.  BOP is engaged in retail, corporate, micro & SME, and Diaspora banking operations. BOP is the sole agent for issuing and acquiring Visa and MasterCard in Palestine with over 6,600 Point of Sale merchant terminals nationwide. BOP is involved in large project finance loan syndications. It adopts a holistic sustainability strategy; and has as such worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a stringent risk management & governance structure. BOP has been the leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Palestine dedicating 5% of its net profit to community & human development.

Bank of Palestine’s stock (PEX: BOP) has been listed on the Palestine Exchange (PEX) since 2005. It is among the market’s blue chip stocks, and represents more than 13.62% of total PEX market capitalization.  

Group Companies

PalPay® – Palestine Payments – As the leading payment platform company PalPay has been successful since inception utilizing the many POS machines and enabling payment of bills from various outlets revolutionizing the payment systems in Palestine. The number of electronic transactions conducted during the year through PalPay® reached more than 14.4 million, an increase of 26% compared with 2016. The company also continued to sign agreements with additional utility companies in Palestine to allow their clients to make e-payments through the PalPay® system. PalPay® has raised to 65 entities the number of service customers using its platform. The company also promoted its services regionally, as it was one of the main sponsors of the Cards and Payments Middle East conference that took place in Dubai. PalPay also was proudly the winner for the biggest worldwide contest in the field of “crisis management and aid” launched by Citi bank (MasterCard, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and others) . PalPay E-Voucher and cash assistance Platform won the first place in the Citi Tech for integrity challenge; a global competition among 2000 international companies, where 103 finalists representing 25 countries vied for awards at six Demo Days. Overall, applicants came from more than 70 countries and 300 cities. 

Al-Wasata Securities has been the fastest growing brokerage company in Palestine playing a major role in the acquisition of new investors into the Palestinian market.  The company ranked number one (out of eight brokerage companies) in Palestine with respect to attracting new investors. It now has a 26.83% market share in terms of number of investors, USD 180 million trading volume in local & regional markets, and more than USD 486 million worth of shares under management. Al Wasata has had a capital increase to allow it to provide assets management and portfolio management services.

 

Arab Islamic Bank (AIB), is the latest subsidiary addition to Bank of Palestine Group, and in essence is the Islamic banking arm for Bank of Palestine, allowing it to provide with its 18 branches Islamic Banking solutions to a growing segment of customers requiring such sharia’ compliant solutions. The bank has assets of USD 1,033,012,286, with net profits in 2017 of USD 6,402,924. Benchmarked against the banking sector AIB’s assets grew by 30% while the assets growth in the entire banking sector was 10% clearly indicating the potential for growth for AIB in the coming years. AIB AGM approved a capital raise in 2017 to meet its growth potential.

For more information contact:

Kamel Husseini

Chief International and Investors Relations Officer

Tel: +970 2 2946700 | Ext: 9114 | Fax: +970 2 2964703  Mobile: +970 599 205630| Email: kamel.husseini@bankofpalestine.com|www.bankofpalestine.com