January 29, 2021

Bank of Palestine Walks Its Mission Through 2020 Challenges

By the Numbers

  • 75 branches
  • Paid-up capital of $200 million
  • Assets of USD$5.26 billion
  • 1,764 employees
  • Almost 1 million customers
  • Women make up over 40% of employees
  • 14.4 million electronic transactions through its subsidiary, PalPay

In 2017, Portico announced its positive social impact first (SIF) investment in Bank of Palestine through certain ELCA social purpose funds. Bank of Palestine is an innovative, socially responsible institution with the widest branch network in Palestine and a presence dating back to 1960. It is also a valued Portico social purpose investment partner.

Through a $1 million, social impact first, five-year certificate of deposit made through the ELCA Social Purpose Bond Fund and all of the Social Purpose Balanced Funds* in 2017, the bank is helping Portico social purpose investors strengthen community development in Palestine. The certificate of deposit provides lending to micro, small, and medium-sized companies — which make up 90% of the Palestinian economy. (See investment details below.)

Showing Up in 2020

While 2020 brought so much to a standstill around the world, Bank of Palestine has continued to walk its mission: Promote inclusive banking; offer humane, friendly customer care; and strive for growth-oriented global standards – all while remaining local at heart.

In a recent report Bank of Palestine provided to Portico, the bank shared that the COVID-19 crisis made it even more aware of its community responsibilities. It took fast action to:

  • Identify which sectors have been most affected — tourism, women-owned businesses, youth entrepreneurship
  • Participate in a very discounted lending program for small/mid-size businesses

Beyond its COVID response, Bank of Palestine has increased its credit to micro, small, and medium-sized companies — from USD $200 million in 2015 to $250 million this year, on its way to its goal of $700 million.

Also this year, the bank:

  • Became the first bank in Palestine to receive the ISO 9001:2015 global certification in the field of Quality Management Systems
  • Advanced its commitment to women empowerment and gender inclusion by launching its fifth round of Mini MBA programs for women in November
  • Continued to honor its corporate social responsibility commitment by donating 5% of its net profits to community and human development causes

Investment Details

This $1 million, five-year certificate of deposit has provided about 200 micro-loans to small entrepreneurs. This segment is typically a growth engine in emerging economies like Palestine but has had limited access to financing.

By leveraging Portico’s $1 million investment, Bank of Palestine has made about 200 micro-loans in the West Bank to businesses like schools, tailors, print shops, and therapists – with 60 going to women business owners. This lending has, in turn, created over 400 new jobs with 30% going to women.

“Bank of Palestine believes in the potential of these businesses to promote economic sustainability, create jobs, and raise living standards,” said Erin Ripperger, Portico’s senior socially responsible investment analyst. “The bank has financed micro entrepreneurs in a wide variety of sectors, and brings to life the positive impact of this lending through storytelling.”

Learn More About Bank of Palestine

For more information about all funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, please see the Investment Fund Descriptions for your retirement plan.

*The ELCA social purpose balanced funds were replaced by Portico social purpose target date funds (TDFs) in October 2020. Because these TDFs were created from Portico’s existing investment pools, all social purpose TDF investors remain participants in this Bank of Palestine investment.

Information regarding Portico funds should not be considered as advice or as a recommendation to hold, purchase, or sell those financial products and does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. For more information about all funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, please see the Investment Fund Descriptions for your retirement plan on the Fund Options & Performance page of myPortico and speak with your tax, legal, or financial professional.

Members should carefully consider the target asset allocations, investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any fund before investing in it. All funds, including the Portico funds, are subject to risk and uncertainty. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, including the Portico funds and ELCA Participating Annuity Investment Fund, are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, any other government agency, or the ELCA. Fund assets are invested in multiple sectors of the market. Sectors, like funds, may perform below expectations and lose money over short or extended periods. Review the Portico Investment Fund Descriptions and the Investment Memorandum for the ELCA Participating Annuity Trust for more information about the Portico funds.

Neither Portico Benefit Services nor the funds it manages are subject to registration, regulation, or reporting under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, or state securities laws. Members, therefore, will not be afforded the protections of those laws and related regulations.