Bank of Palestine, the largest financial institution in Palestine, has set up its first international representative office worldwide at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial hub connecting businesses and institutions with emerging market opportunities across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
The inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, His Excellency Azzam Shawwa, Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine, and a number of Palestinian expat businessmen from Chile, Malaysia, United States, Europe, UAE and the wider Gulf, in addition to journalists and media personalities.
The bank will offer financial, investment and advisory services to the Palestinian diaspora living in the Gulf region and beyond. Marking the Palestine banking sector’s foray into international markets with the UAE being its first footprint, Bank of Palestine’s DIFC operations will help connect and encourage Palestinians living abroad to enhance synergies with the Palestinian economy.
Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said: ‘We are pleased that the Bank of Palestine has selected DIFC and Dubai to mark its foray into international operations. The bank’s choice serves as the latest endorsement of Dubai and the wider UAE as an ideal location for businesses to establish and thrive.”
Essa Kazim added: “DIFC is committed to offering our clients the opportunity of enhancing connectivity with the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia region as part of our 2024 growth strategy. We are confident the bank will benefit from the Centre’s wide and diverse network of global banking and financial institutions as it expands its international business interests.”
For his part, Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine, said: “I am very pleased that we opened our first representative office worldwide at DIFC. I am also proud that we are the first Palestinian corporation in DIFC. This is our most significant milestone since the bank’s establishment in 1960. We greatly appreciate the support of the Palestinian government, the Palestinian Monetary Authority, Dubai Government, DIFC, DIFC Authority, our stakeholders, and our customers and employees. We are truly proud to be part of the international financial community. Our presence at DIFC will strengthen the Palestinian financial and banking system and help us gain the trust of our customers and offer our services to millions in the GCC area.”
“Our new office in the UAE will promote our banking services and serve as an economic bridge that connects 250,000 Palestinian expats in the UAE to their homeland. At a later stage, we also aim to target Palestinians working in the wider Gulf area to leverage their expertise and capabilities,” he added.
Azzam Shawa, Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) expressed pride on the opening of the Bank of Palestine’s representative office at DIFC. He said: “The move is a major stepping stone for the Palestinian banking system, enhancing the status of Palestine in the Arab region and the world at large. This strategic expansion of our banks outside Palestine will help attract investments into Palestine.”
The PMA Governor also provided insight into the achievements of the Palestinian Monetary Authority challenging adversities while ensuring added confidence in the Palestine banking system, stating that total banking deposits in Palestine in the first quarter of 2016 exceeded US$10.6 billion and total assets reached US$12.4 billion. The Governor of the PMA congratulated Bank of Palestine for this achievement and its continued growth curve allowing it to garner 25% of the total banking assets and 23% of the total banking deposits in Palestine.