Ramallah, West Bank, February 24, 2011—Bank
of Palestine today introduced a new corporate governance framework, developed
with assistance from IFC, that improves the bank’s oversight capacity
and supports economic growth in West Bank and Gaza.
The bank’s new corporate governance framework includes policy and structural
changes that will strengthen its capacity for private sector lending over
the long term. Key changes include revised board committees, improved board
working procedures, clarified board-management authorities, ongoing board
performance evaluations, and improved disclosure practices.
“The goal was to build on our already sound foundation and find ways to
improve the way we function from the board level down into the organization,”
said Hashem Shawa, Chairman of the Bank of Palestine. “We feel strongly
about the notion of continuous improvement, and always want to be sure
we have world class practices in place to support our evolving business.”
Dr. Jihad Al Wazir, Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, hailed
the Bank of Palestine’s new corporate governance regulations as important
examples for the entire Palestinian banking sector. The new regulations
stem largely from corporate governance guidelines introduced by the PMA
IFC Advisory Services helped Bank of Palestine, the largest private financial
institution of Palestinian origin, introduce these changes, which are part
of a broader effort to strengthen the Bank’s overall governance and risk
management practices. The Bank’s board of directors recently approved
other changes in key functions, such as credit risk, market risk and operational
risk, which are now being implemented.
“Sound corporate governance and risk management practices help ensure
that financial institutions remain strong and are able to play a catalytic
role in helping the region’s economies grow,” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos,
IFC Director for Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create
opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do
so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply
essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering
advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global
economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion
in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.