RAMALLAH, Palestine, April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Bank of Palestine (BOP) held its 48th ordinary annual General Assembly Meeting (AGM) on Friday, April 25, 2014 at the bank's headquarters in Ramallah and in Gaza via video conference.
The General Assembly approved the board of directors' report, the financial statements for the year 2013, the external auditor's report, and the board of directors' remuneration. The General assembly endorsed the recommendation of BOP's board of directors to distribute USD 22.5 million from realized profits to shareholders as follows (in proportion to each shareholder's ownership in paid capital as of April 24, 2014):
- USD 10 million as stock dividend raising the bank's paid-up capital to USD
- USD 12.5 million as cash dividend
The General Assembly also appointed Ernst & Young as the external auditor for the financial year 2013 and authorized the bank's board of directors' to appropriate the auditor's remuneration.
In his speech, Chairman and General Manager, Hashim Shawa stated: "2012 was not a very easy year due to the political unrest that Palestine witnessed last year, however, Bank of Palestine, proved to be resilient. In 2012, BOP's profits before tax reached USD 49,966,888 an increase of 19.34% compared with 2011. The bank's net profit reached USD 38,347,397 - for the year 2012; an increase of 12.85% compared with 2011. As at the end of 2012, Bank of Palestine's total assets reached USD 2,004,494,095 - maintaining the top rank as the largest Palestinian company in terms of financial assets, total shareholders' equity reached USD 220,973,909, an increase of 13.67% compared with 2011, and paid-up capital also increased by 11.67% to reach USD 134,000,000. During this period, the bank's market share has also significantly increased to reach 23.75% and 20.79% in loans and deposits respectively, compared with 20.5% and 18.6% in 2011; deposits reached USD 1.55 billion, an increase of 19.89% compared with 2011 and the loans portfolio reached USD 976 million compared with USD 720 million at the end of 2011; an increase of 35.58%. NPLs at BOP decreased to reach only 1.61% in 2012."
Shawa also mentioned several developments that took place in 2012, including; opening two new branches for the bank - Al-Masyoun branch in Ramallah, and a sub-branch in the industrial area in Betounya, maintaining its position as the leading bank in Palestine in terms of number of branches; completing the final stage of the risk management project, enhancing the bank's risk management frameworks. The bank introduced several new products during the year; a mortgage product, a children's savings campaign, a prepaid Visa card, and a small business loan for fishermen. In addition to launching the services of its subsidiary company PalPay(R), an electronic payment solutions gateway. BOP also pursued new sources of income by signing agreements with several Palestinian banks to issue credit cards for their clients. Moreover, as part of its holistic sustainability strategy, Bank of Palestine continued to contribute 5% of its annual net profit to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Shawa ended by extending his gratitude to the shareholders for their continued confidence in the bank's work, to the clients for their loyalty, to the employees for their award winning performance, and to the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) and the Palestine Capital Markets Authority for its ongoing support and its efforts to improve the regulatory framework, under which BOP operates and which contributes to the development of the Palestinian economy.
About Bank of Palestine (BoP)
Bank of Palestine has a long embedded presence and experience in Palestine dating back to 1960. The bank is now the largest Palestinian bank with the most widespread branch network in Palestine, a paid up capital of $160 million, and assets of over $2.34 billion, with 1,200 employees serving around 600,000 customers. Operating as a universal bank, BOP is engaged in retail, corporate, micro and SME, and Diaspora banking operations, with the largest card processing operations in Palestine; BOP is the sole agent for issuing and acquiring Visa and MasterCard in Palestine with 6,000 Point of Sale merchant terminals nationwide. Bank of Palestine adopts a holistic sustainability strategy and has been the leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Palestine dedicating 5% of its net profit to community 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 around 15% of total PEX market capitalization.
For more information, please contact:
Raya Sbitany -- Head of Investor Relations
Tel: +970-2-2946700 Ext: 9008
Bank of Palestine