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There are many businesses, institutions and companies operating in the financial sector in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These include the monetary authority and general banks that have risen in number to a total of 20. These include non-banking financial institutions including the Palestinian Capital Market Authority for securities, 9 private companies and financial centers as well as 10 insurance companies. The added value generated from financial establishments in both the banking and non-banking sides saw continuous growth, reaching US$342.2 million in 2008, a 34% increase from 2006.

With the establishment of the PNA in 1994, the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) emerged, accompanied by the opportunity to open the Palestinian banking sector once again after a blockade that extended since 1967. Since then, the number of banks has been regularly increasing, reaching 19 banks with 209 branches and offices at the end of the first quarter of 2010, among them 9 local banks and 10 foreign banks. Among the foreign banks, 8 are Jordanian, one is Egyptian and one is owned by HSBC. Also, 2 Islamic banks operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Banking activity since 1994 has increased in total value, with public deposits reaching US$6.3 billion in 2009, and the total value reaching US$2.2 billion at the end of 2009. Figure 2 below shows the growth of credit facilities from 1997 until 2009. The ratio of loans to private sector deposits is low in the West Bank and Gaza in comparison with neighboring countries. The growth in public deposits in 2009 was accompanied by a clear growth in lending. The percentage of credit to total lending facilities lending went up from 61% in 2008 to 69% at the end 2009. This increase was at the expense of the debit account which fell during the same period from 38% to 30%.

There is no national currency and so three different currencies are widely used in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the Israeli Shekel in daily financial transactions, and the Jordanian Dinar and U.S. Dollar in savings and investments and for the purchase of durable goods. It is possible to make deposits and withdrawals from banks in any of these three currencies (see the following table).

Banks Operating in West Bank and Gaza at the End of 2009

1

Bank Name

Founded

The number of branches

Office Address/Regional

2

Jordan Kuwait Bank

1995

2

Ramallah – Almaref Street

3

Arab Islamic Bank

1995

7

Al-Bireh – Nablus Street

4

Palestine Islamic Bank

1995

13

Ramallah – Jerusalem Street

5

Ahli Bank

1995

5

Ramallah – Zahra Street

6

Jordan Commercial Bank

1994

5

Ramallah – Street Almanara

7

Commercial Bank of Palestine

1994

5

Ramallah District, Qaddura – Alawda Street

8

Arab Bank

1994

14

Ramallah District, Masyoun – Grand Park Hotel Street

9

Arab Palestinian Investment Bank

1996

1

Ramallah, Ramallah Al-Tahta

10

Egyptian Arab Land Bank

1994

4

Ramallah – Jerusalem Street

11

Union Bank

1995

1

Ramallah – Downtown – Albareed Street

12

Bank of Jordan

1994

10

Al-Bireh – Nablus Street

13

Palestinian Investment Bank

1995

7

Ramallah District, Al-Nahda – Alhlal Street

14

The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance

1995

12

Ramallah – Albareed Street

15

Al Rafah Bank

2006

3

Ramallah – Al-Ersal

16

Cairo Amman Bank

1986

18

Ramallah – Masyon – Al-Maahed Street

17

Al Quds Bank

1995

11

Ramallah – Main Street

18

Palestine International Bank

1996

3

Al-Bireh _ District Sbeha – Ras Al-Tahona

19

Bank of Palestine PLC

1960

19

Ramallah, Ein Misbah – Old Al – Mahkama Street

20

HSBC Bank

1998

1

Ramallah_Jaffa Street

Sources: Visit Palestine