Palestine: Best Domestic Bank 2021
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Palestine: Best Domestic Bank 2021

Bank of Palestine

Mahmoud Shawa, Bank of Palestine.jpg
Mahmoud Shawa, Bank of Palestine

There were times in the last year when Mahmoud Shawa didn’t know if he was running a bank or a healthcare system. Welcome to Bank of Palestine’s dangerous, but legacy-defining year.

The bank operates in a locale that is in a constant state of geopolitical and societal upheaval, given the fraught relations with Israel. Electoral jockeying in West Jerusalem in early 2021 exacerbated those tensions while the pandemic made desperate living standards even worse.

Yet one of Palestine’s worst periods in modern memory has arguably given Bank of Palestine a way to shine, as staff scrambled to ease the state’s economic pain. It stepped up to augment the government’s financial rescue efforts and support small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as average labourers, giving the idea of corporate social responsibility entirely new meaning.

Along with cash handouts, generous loan restructurings and liaising with the World Health Organization, Bank of Palestine’s staff sponsored and produced a video series featuring local celebrities and media personalities to increase awareness of Covid-19 risks and suggest ways to mitigate those dangers.