Mr. Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, gathered the group’s material and moral capacities, including its contacts, teams, media and online channels and expertise, to support the efforts of President Mahmoud Abbas, His Excellency the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, and all the constituents of the Palestinian government, in confronting and preventing the spread of the Corona Virus in Palestine. Al Shawa praised the government’s wise and prompt decisions, which promoted Palestine as one of the first countries in the world to practice prevention measures, based on the testimony of the World Health Organization. According to Al Shawa, “Bank of Palestine Group studied and researched the best ways to provide the government with the financial resources necessary for combatting the virus, as well as the resources to support the safety networks for the social sectors that have been affected by the virus.

Al Shawa pointed out that the Group will provide the sum of 6.5 million Shekels, of which five million are from its own funds and 1.5 million from the Palestinians in the diaspora, to support the government’s efforts. The Islamic Arab Bank contributed one million Shekels and PalPay contributed half a million. Al Shawa stressed that these contributions complement the guidelines set forth by the Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, who issued instructions calling upon all banks to direct their corporate social responsibility budgets to support the government in its efforts to combat the spread of the virus. It is important to mention that the Group’s program in response to the state of emergency is focused on a bottom-up plan of action that is compatible with the nature and development of this crisis and attuned with the government’s priorities.  

From the onset of the declaration of a state of emergency, Bank of Palestine Group intensified communication with Palestinians in the diaspora, shareholders and investors who form part of its strong network of contacts living in various countries around the world, and through its representative offices in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Santiago, Chile, who responded promptly in providing financial resources to support the Palestinian health sector during these difficult times. Palestinian businessmen in Chile contributed 1.5 million Shekels to support hospitals in East Jerusalem in particular and Palestinian hospitals in general, by providing the necessary medical equipment and supplies to treat Corona Virus patients. 

Bank contributions by encouraging customers to use electronic (online) channels

Al Shawa pointed out that the bank launched a campaign entitled “Banki from my home” to encourage customers to complete their financial transactions through the Bank of Palestine Banki application. The campaign aims to prevent the spread of the virus by encouraging customers to practice social distancing and decrease their visits to bank branches by responding to their banking and customer service needs through various electronic channels. Through this campaign, the bank will donate one Shekel for every financial transaction conducted on the Banki app, to support the government’s effort in combatting the spread of the virus. It also includes daily financial prizes for customers to encourage them to increase the use of online banking services, which will positively contribute to their compliance with the emergency instructions issued by the government and the Ministry of Health. It is expected that the number of financial transactions on the app will reach one million within the next six months. 

A nationwide campaign to spread awareness and prevent the spread of the Corona Virus

From another aspect, Al Shawa pointed out that Bank of Palestine Group launched the campaign in partnership with a team composed of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the World Health organization, UNICEF, and the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) with an aim to spread awareness about prevention from the Corona Virus. The partners commenced their efforts in mid-March and implemented several awareness activities through various media channels, with the campaign focusing primarily on the importance of complying with the instructions and guidelines issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the government’s emergency plan.

The campaign includes awareness videos that feature over 25 influential figures, from artists, journalists, doctors, religious people, members from the security forces, civil defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, and laborers who work in the lands of 1948. “The campaign aims to encourage people to follow the issued safety instructions,” stated Al Shawa. “At Bank of Palestine, we joined forces with our partners to promote health and prevention information based on the updates issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the United Nations, using all BoP ATM screens, media channels, social media platforms, campaign partner websites and media agencies,” he added. The campaign also features billboards set up in public spaces, BoP social media platforms, and local radio and television stations, to reach all sectors in Palestine, the diaspora and refugee camps.

In-kind contributions

Stemming from its continuous support for the health sector, Bank of Palestine donated 1,400 N95 masks to the Ministry of Health and 500 masks to the Higher Emergency Committee in the governorate of Ramallah and Al Bireh.

Al Shawa commended the efforts applied by the government, the medical teams and security forces, ensuring the readiness of Bank of Palestine Group to contribute all its capacities, teams, expertise, and banking and financial network to assist in combatting the virus. “I pray to God that these efforts will succeed in overcoming this crisis and secure the wellbeing and peace of Palestinians and of people around the world,” concluded Al Shawa.