Financial Sector Public Awareness Campaign
As part of the financial sector stakeholders to increase the level of awareness for their financial services industry, the four Partners; Palestine Monetary Authority, Palestine Capital Market Authority, the Association of Banks in Palestine and the Palestinian Insurance Federation decided to launch a Public Awareness Campaign, concentrating on the banking and insurance services available in Palestine as well as the financial regulators, associations and institutions that support the provision of those services.
Financial Sector Background:
There has been remarkable development in the industry of financial services in Palestine during the past fifteen years. Nowadays, there are 19 local and international banks, 10 insurance companies, 350 bureau du change, 10 securities companies in addition to the Palestine Stock Exchange, 7 financial leasing companies, and two mortgage lending companies. The industry of micro-finance has also developed in Palestine. The growth and development of the financial services in Palestine has been realized under the supervision and monitoring of the Palestinian Monetary Authority and the Palestine Capital Market Authority, with orientation from the Association of Banks in Palestine and the Palestinian Insurance Federation.
These institutions provide a set of various financial services. Banks provide deposit, lending, and other banking services. The insurance companies provide a number of services, including compulsory insurances such as car and labor insurance and optional insurance including life, health, accidents, fire, theft, and other insurance services. Bureau du change are allowed to change currencies. Lending institutions give small and medium size loans to individuals and businesses. The banking sector had until December 31, 2009 managed 8.1 billion dollars of banking assets and provided 2.4 billion dollars in banking facilities to institutions and individuals. The total of insurance premiums reached approximately 104 million dollars. According to data, the financial sectors are headed towards further financial growth in the few coming years.
Financial services: Crucial but misunderstood sometimes
Financial services help individuals and businesses to manage their resources efficiently; thus, contribute to sustainable economic development directly. Banking services; on the other hand, help deposits grow for future purposes and provide immediate borrowing opportunities. The insurance services help dealing with unexpected accidents and dividing risks. Therefore, financial services in general do not only help individuals and commercial establishments, they also assist the macro economy to grow in the whole country.
The modern banking and insurance institutions operating in Palestine provide a large variety of services throughout more than 215 bank branches and 250 insurance companies and insurance agents.
To ensure maximum benefits, the products of the financial and insurance services require the public to understand their characteristics, conditions, and use. People must clearly understand the details of such services for the most efficient use. Noticeably, many people do not fully realize the significance of the banking and insurance services and how they could help ease their living conditions, which makes people avoid them. Alternatively, some people use such services in the wrong way, which would lead to problematic situations. Some people do not know where to go for solving their banking and insurance problems; therefore, they do not fully benefit from the available services. This may lead to increasing risks of everyday dealing of such services and may also cause larger economic issues on the international level, i.e. the major issue that occurred recently in the United States of America where people purchased real estate without being made aware of the sold products (the lending of huge amounts of money, which people could not afford to repay). Hence, it is necessary to understand the contents of the financial products for accurate utilization.
More details about the Financial Services Public Awareness Campaign
The Financial Services Awareness Campaign is designed to inform people of the financial services that are available in Palestine, how to benefit from them, how to utilize them, how to compare them, how to obtain and manage them, and what to do when problems occur.
Campaign Partners: The campaign is the made possible through the efforts of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, the Palestine Capital Market Authority, Palestinian Insurance Federation, and the Association of Banks in Palestine. The campaign is part of the efforts of the partners (in the campaign) to develop consumer protection legislation and develop and strengthen the functions of customers complaints departments complaining about the financial services of Palestine. The campaign also aims to develop school curriculum to include materials about financial management.
Duration of the Campaign: The campaign will be carried out during a period of 4 months. The campaign will deal with financial services in general throughout its first month; bring forth more details about the banking and insurance industries in general and the services of the banking and insurance sectors specifically in the second month. Focus will be on the parties that monitor the operations of the financial and insurance institutions and their roles with regard to these operations during the third month of the campaign. The campaign will focus on the process of complaining against the financial institutions, if they fail to provide services appropriately and in accordance with the rules, in the fourth month.
Media Tools used throughout the campaign:
- Twelve bulletins will be printed out during the campaign. In addition to the General Campaign brochure, the eleven brochures will cover the entire partners of the campaign, the financial services, the mechanisms of processing complaints at the parties in charge of monitoring the providers of financial services.
- A number of promotional instruments will be utilized in the campaign in order to ensure maximum coverage, including
- Radio stations,
- Local newspapers,
- Television programs hosting people widely informed of the insurance and banking sectors to discuss the financial and insurance services, issues, and solutions.