TNB retained its title as the fastest growing bank in Palestine for the third consecutive year, with its unique strategic vision and services that a remarkably different from what is available in the Palestinian banking marketplace. In 2017, TNB witnessed numerous achievements, most prominent of which was the opening of the first branch of a Palestinian bank in Jerusalem. TNB’s CEO elaborates on the bank’s 2017 achievements.
The National Bank in Jerusalem
TNB attained a national first with the opening of its first operating banking branch behind the separation wall. National and Arab banks have been notably absent from the governorate for more than 50 years, since the 1967 war.
Commenting on this achievement, Hajhasan said, "Since our launch, we have emphasized the importance of the Jerusalem governorate. We inauguratedtwo branches, one in Al-Ram and another in Hizma, but servicing the center of Jerusalem remained out of our grasp. We eventually found an area inside the separation wall that was classified "C" but was open to Jerusalem, and we contacted the Palestine Monetary Authority to begin the licensing process. "
He added that due to the obstacles and procedures faced by the bank, the opening of the branch took two years of efforts, due to numerous logistical complications."
The bank’s latest branch bodes well for the area, with plans underway for several other banks and companies to extend their services to the residents of Jerusalem, enhancing the area’s economic and developmental activities and creating new job opportunities.
The Best Bank in Women Empowerment
TNB is proud of its manyachievements in 2017, foremost of which was being recognized at a regional level with two awards as the best bank for empowering women economically. TNB receivedan award from CPI Financial and its affiliate The Banker Middle East magazine, as well as an award from the Union of Arab Banks.
Speaking about this recognition, Hajhasan said, "Women form half ofPalestine’s society, and are acrucial segment that is not properly served by banks in the country.Their financial needs are unique, and TNB has succeeded in pioneering banking services that address the actual needs of Palestinian women and help them achieve their goals. TNB has become the premier destination for Palestinian women seeking a financial service provider and advisor, which is reflected in the success of the bank’s Hayati program, that has, this year, become integrated in order to provide an entire suite of banking services to Palestinian women."
Hajhasan spoke of TNB’s pioneering role in empowering women through the Hayati program, which addresses the actual needs of Palestinian women and helps them achieve their goals through production-oriented projects. Hajhasan added that the Hayati program distinguishes Palestinian women by providing a suite of benefits that include exemption from commissions on current accounts, due to the bank’s belief in the important role that women play in the local economy.
According to Hajhasan, "This year we signed a number of agreements with local and international parties to increase financing forproduction projects led by Palestinian women, to the tune of $7 million in areas classified as C and Jerusalem, and include the West Bank governorates as well. We believe in the importance of these projects and their effect on sustainable economic development and job creation."
The FastestGrowing in Palestine
TNB’s financial performance, according to Hajhasan, has been exemplary, and the bank has been named the fastest growing I Palestine for the third consecutive year by CPI Financial, which is dedicated to analyzing the financial performance of banks. Hajhasan said, "In a short period of time, TNB has succeeded in changing its competitive classification and leapfrog from thirteenth place to third among banks in terms of the size of assets that exceeded $1 billion, and the third among Palestinian banks in the first ninemonths of 2017 in terms of the size of customer deposits, which amounted to $791 million. The bank has also succeeded in realizing third place in Palestine in terms of the volume of its direct credit facilities portfolio, which amounted to$614.18 million in the first ninemonths of the current year."
Banking Network and Technology
Two thousand and seventeen was a year of expansion for TNB, which saw the inauguration of five new branches, one in the village of Arraba in Jenin, one in Nablus’s Rafidia neighborhood, one in Jerusalem’s Dahiat Al-Barid, one in Rawabi city as well as a branch for VIP customers in Ramallah. Commenting on the bank’s expansion vision, Hajhasan said, "TNB’s strategy for geographic expansion is built on reinforcing the presence of branches in the country’s main cities in order to achieve the financial needs of residents and businesses. The bank also recognizes the importance of servicing villages and towns that are unserved by the banking sector in order to reinforce financial inclusion. We select a town or a village that forms a ring for a group of villages and towns in order to serve the largest possible number of the area’s residents." Hajhasan added that since the beginning of the year, TNB hasadopted the Temenos T24, which is one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. “The first stage has been successfully completed, and included the transferring of alldata from the old system to the new one, and we are currently developing and digitizing all our services. Customers will soon be able to benefit from the enhanced banking services, which will allow them to perform all their banking transactions without the need to visit any branches. Since our launch in the Palestinian banking market, we have pledged to offer the most technologically advanced services, which should be fully operational in the near future."
Corporate Social Responsibility
Eachyear, TNB allocates 4 percent of its net profits to its corporate social responsibility(CSR) interests, which is among the highest among Palestinian banks in terms of annual contributions. Speaking about the bank’s CSR strategy, Hajhasan said, "Our view of CSR is uniquein that TNB does not simply contribute an amount of money every year, but also offers responsible banking products that serve sectors of society in a responsible manner, which contribute to developing the Palestinian national economy." Hajhasan went on to explain, "Each year, areas served by our CSRprogram are identified in line with the sectors we serve in our field of banking. In this vein, we have concentrated for two consecutive years on supporting Palestinian women in various sectors and areas, together with a number of civil society institutions. In addition, we support the continued development ofeducation and teachers in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, as well as developing areas classified as "C" and supporting Jerusalem." Hajhasan also addressed the role played by TNB in banking education, saying, "Stemming from our role as a banking institution, we are dedicated to raising awareness about all aspects of banking among our customers and all members of society in order to help them make betterfinancial decisions based the banking products and services we offer. TNB has been a pioneer in the launch of quality banking awareness videos that offer streamlined explanations of ourproducts and services, using social media to disseminate them to the largest number of people possible. In addition, we have held awareness seminars, in cooperation with Dunia Women Cancer Clinic, throughout the Palestinian countryside."