The Governor of the PMA Azzam Shawwa headed a consultative meeting attended by representatives of the banking sector in Palestine at PMA headquarters. The meeting addressed the latest developments in the work of both the PMA and banking system and the positive impact banks have on the national economy and on citizens and society in general. The meeting also discussed the efforts made by the PMA to maintain the stability and robustness of the Palestinian banking system.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Governor of the PMA, Dr. Shehadeh Hussein; Assistant to the Governor for Financial Stability Affairs, Dr. Riyad Abu Shehadeh; Chairman of the Board of Association of Banks in Palestine (ABP), Mr. Mohammad Al-Barghouti; General Manager of Palestine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), Mr. Zaher Al-Hmouz; Manager of Palestinian Banking Institute (PBI), Dr. Iyad Al-Jayyousi; Manager of the Financial Follow-Up Unit (FFU), Mr. Wael Lafi; general and regional managers of banks operating in Palestine and several PMA’s directors.
The meeting explored the important subject of the electronic clearing system and the measures taken by the PMA to implement it. It is expected that inspection and training will commence at the beginning of the coming year while system launch is expected around mid-year 2018.
The Governor of the PMA briefed the attendees on electronic clearing process with Israeli banks which will be put in place staring November 2017 for bank transactions involving Israeli correspondent banks. He requested the banks to make necessary arrangements to prepare for this development by installing appropriate systems and tools to adapt to the new methodology.
The attendees discussed the independent assessment of the PMA’s role conducted in accordance with the FATF recommendations, given the new measures and the efforts undertaken over the past two years to rectify and improve the environment to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML.CFT). These measures have comprised manuals, operating procedures, forms, instructions, circulars and internal work arrangements in tandem with compliance to certain disclosure requirements. Within this frame, the attendees also discussed the results of the national money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment; the first ever to take place in Palestine. In addition, time was devoted to discuss the Bank AML/CFT Manual.
Furthermore, discussions were expanded to include the observations relating to the data accuracy of deposit and withdrawal transactions, establishing maximum caps and minimum floors on interest rates offered on customer deposits and the assessment of Palestinian banks conducted by Capital Intelligence. Additionally, attendees reviewed security features on checks in view of the final instructions issued five months ago granting the banks a six-month period to fulfill requirements. The subject of cash liquidity in dinars and US dollars was also raised, with data from banks operating in Palestine showing that these banks meet approved cash liquidity requirements for both the dinar and the dollar.
During the meeting, the attendees were briefed on the 2017 Palestine International Banking Conference on Women Banking to be held in Jericho on November 20, 2017. The meeting also shed light on the conference on countering the financing of terrorism and correspondent banking, which is to be convened on October 16, 2017 and hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in association with the Union of Arab Banks. This conference will be addressing the topics of AML and fighting financial crimes.
It is worth mentioning that the PMA regularly convenes consultative meetings with the banks operating in Palestine to discuss the current banking developments and keep abreast of the latest international trends in the banking industry.