Last Thursday, 16 August 2018, Bank of Palestine launched the first mobile center for banking services "Banki Rahhal", in front of its headquarters in the CCC building in the city of Al Bireh. The ceremony was held in the presence of Mr. Azzam Al Shawa, the Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, Dr. Layla Ghannam, the Governor of Ramallah and Al Bireh, Mr. Azzam Ismail, the Mayor of Al Bireh, Mr. Khalil Rizeq, the President of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, and Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini, the General Director of Bank of Palestine, in addition to several businessmen and general managers from public sector and civil society organizations, and reporters and media persons.

The new center, which was built in the form of a medium-sized bus, aims to provide banking and financial services to remote areas where such services as unavailable. This will contribute to promoting the concept of financial inclusion in Palestine and reduce the hassle of mobility, as well as spread awareness on how to benefit from banking products and services, the usage of ATMs in Palestine, as well as depositing and withdrawing money and cheques from ATMs. Banki Rahhal was equipped with various services, computers, and machines that instantly print banking cards. Bank employees will be running various forms of banking and other services from these centers, where citizens are able to open accounts, request cheque books, apply for loans, make transfers and receive information about deposits and other services.

His Excellency Mr. Azzam Al Shawa, the Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, praised this qualitative step taken by Bank of Palestine to open the mobile banking center "Banki Rahhal." This dream that managed to become a reality, will promote financial inclusion in Palestine, as one of the most effective steps in facilitating access to funding sources. Al Shawa stressed the importance of developing banking services, and keeping up with the latest means and ways to bring these services to citizens is a work priority for the banking system, and this mobile center is considered a qualitative step in banking services. Al Shawa anticipates that this service will manage to reach all marginalized areas across the Palestinian governorates from the north to the south.

The Governor also revealed the upcoming automated clearing services, which is considered one of the most important projects implemented by the Palestine Monetary Authority. He added that the Authority and banks are ready to commence with the use of the automated clearing services system, which will allow for collecting the value of a cheque on the day it is deposited, or within 24 hours. Banks received instructions about new security information concerning cheques in order to prevent forgery and imitation, whereby the specification system for security and technical features for cheques was developed to 13 features.

The Governor also pointed out the great developments in financial indicators of the Palestinian Banking System, indicating that up until end June 2018, total deposits reached $13 billion, total credit portfolio reached $8.1 billion, and net assets reached $15.6 billion. He also pointed out that the number of bank branches and offices in the West Bank and Gaza reached 342, while the number of employees in the banking system during the first quarter of 2018 reached 6,991.

Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini, the General Director of Bank of Palestine, stated that the bank's initiative to launch the first mobile banking center "Banki Rahhal" comes in line with the vision of the Palestine Monetary Authority to promote the concept of financial inclusion and deliver it to all sectors in society in all geographical locations. Ghalayini added that the bank is celebrating the launch of this new service to contribute to alleviating the suffering endured by citizens living in remote areas that are far from city centers. This service builds a bridge of communication with citizens living in those areas, while achieving the highest levels of financial inclusion in Palestine, and allowing all citizens to have access to banking services. Ghalayini pointed out that the policy and strategy of Bank of Palestine is to seek new and creative ideas that serve all customers wherever they are. He also added that the bank pioneered the launch of the first electronic branch in Palestine a few years back, and managed to develop its electronic services, which resulted in the implementation of several programs and banking applications that played a major role in facilitating the lives of citizens. The bank also spread banking awareness among children by establishing and preparing an educational and entertainment area designated for children in its main branches to assist them in learning and understanding the concept of banking services at a very young age.

Ghalayini added that the main goal of the mobile banking center is to spread awareness about banking culture. The mobile center is equipped with several tools that provide banking services, which include, but are not limited to opening accounts, issuing cash cards on the spot, filling out applications for most types of banking services, and focusing on teaching the public on how to use banking services and obtain them, as well as train them on how to use ATM machines in general.

Dr. Layla Ghannam, the Governor of Ramallah and Al Bireh, praised the idea of the mobile banking center and congratulated the General Manager and team at Bank of Palestine on this great achievement that aims to serve a wide sector of Palestinian society. Ghannam anticipates to see further persistence in achieving accomplishments that raise the name of this nation despite the difficult economic situation and the far-fetched political resolutions.

Mr. Azzam Ismail, the Mayor of Al Bireh, also praised the efforts conducted by Bank of Palestine in terms of providing citizens with accessible new and creative banking services wherever they are. He congratulated the bank management on the inauguration of Banki Rahhal, which will facilitate access and promote awareness about banking services, stressing the distinguished role played by Bank of Palestine in supporting various activities and managing to record state of the art accomplishments.