Tuesday 22, August 2017 by Nabilah Annuar

Bank of Palestine announces a net profit of $24.72 million for the first half of 2017

Total assets up by 13.06 per cent at $4.65 billion compared with $4.11 billion at year end of 2016.

Bank of Palestine (BOP), announced its half year 2017 preliminary financial results reporting a gross income of $108.34 million in H1 2017, compared with $82.49 million for the same period in 2016, reflecting an increase of 31.33 per cent. The bank’s Profit before tax is up by 10.68 per cent with $34.97 million compared with $31.59 million in the same period of 2016, with a net profit achieved of $24.72 million.  

Total assets grew by 13.06 per cent reaching $4.66 billion compared with $4.12 billion at the end of 2016. The Bank’s total shareholders' equity reached $418.2 million with an increase of 3.62 per cent compared with $403.57 million at the end of 2016.

Commenting on the results, Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine said, “Despite challenges in the market place, Bank of Palestine has maintained double digit organic growth across our financial indicators compared to same period last year. We have continued to enhance the strategy of diversification of income as an integral part of the overall growth strategy with positive results for our subsidiaries

Arab Islamic Bank and Palpay. Arab Islamic Bank had just issued an IPO resulting in the increase of the capital base to $75 million providing ample adequacy for growth in the Islamic banking operations of this subsidiary."

Growth was witnessed in customer deposits, loans, assets with a healthy capital adequacy for the bank at 14.25 per cent. With a Loan to deposit ratio of 67.47 per cent Bank of Palestine continues to have a strong liquidity position for further lending.

"Our future growth plans foresee untapped SME loans in unbanked and marginalised areas of the country and with the Jerusalem branch in the holy city becoming fully operational 3rd quarter 2017; a new inaccessible market in the past shall be served by the bank. We therefore shall continue the focus on Financial Inclusion programmes targeting youth and women. We have continued promotion of the saving programmes targeting children from birth until age 17 with a special incentive to encourage children to save from an early age. In addition to focus on retail business strategy with dedicated direct sales team to augment retail services, offering incentives for customers for using Bank credit cards in a bid to promote the culture of using cards," added Shawa.

Customer deposits reached $3.56 billion at H1 of 2017, marking an increase of 13.33 per cent compared with $3.14 billion at end of 2016. The loan portfolio increased to $2.40 billion compared to $2.21 billion at the end of 2016 with a growth of 8.58 per cent. In tandem with the growth in the Bank's loan portfolio, the bank is keeping a very acceptable Non-Performing Loan Ratio at around 2.32 per cent while sustaining such organic growth.

Shawa concluded that the bank looks with a positive forward outlook into the future based on key external and internal developments taking place during the next period leading up to year end 2017.

Internationally, the Chile representative office officially opening 4th quarter of this year, tapping the diaspora potential in the Latin America region and bridging opportunities with the Dubai representative office and the Palestine head office; will enhance the Bank's international connection with Palestinian diaspora and regional-international investors garnering additional cross border business and transactions.

Domestically, the bank views with favour the enforcement of the new Electronic Transactions law, which is destined to help boost the Bank’s continuing efforts to improve the digital channels enhancing key electronic services like e commerce, international transfers and improving internal efficiencies.

Internally, the centralization of operations is underway with impact to be felt in optimization of resources, and customer service and efficiency helping the bottom line with positive impact on the results in the future.

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