After thirty-four years of active work, the Jewish Colonial Trust has ceded its place to its daughter company, the Anglo-Palestine Bank.
Founded in 1899 by Herzl as the financial instrument of the Zionist Movement, the Jewish Colonial Trust has for many years hold are important place among the Jewish institutions of England. The decision to transfer its banking business to the Anglo-Palestine Bank shows the declining importance of the Diaspora, and the ever-growing significance of Palestine in the Zionist Movement.
The Jewish Colonial Trust was originally intended to be a mere holding company, and was founded with the aim of encouraging the establishment of the financial institutions necessary for the creation of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. It soon departed from this orginal intention, however, and itself became an active bank.
BANK FORMED IN 1902
In 1902, it founded a subsidiary company in Palestine, the Anglo-Palestine Bank, for the purpose of promoting Zionist work there and of furthering the economic development of the country. The Jewish Colonial retained control over this daughter company, practically the whole capital of which it owns. The two banks were under one central derection, and each acted as the other’s representative in its own sphere of activities. The Jewish Colonial Trust remained the financial instrument of the Zionist Movement, but its work in Palestine was conducted through the Anglo-Palestine Bank, in which some 90 percent of its capital was invested.
In the course of time the daughter company grew stronger and stronger and soon outgrew its parent company in importance. The Anglo-Palestine Bank grew side by side with the growth of Zionist activities in Palestine. In the 31 years of its existence it has overcome innumerable difficulties and done extremely valuable work. As a result, it has won the confidence of the whole Jewish population of Palestine, and become the recognized central Jewish bank in the country, with branches in all the important centres.
REVERTS TO OLD FUNCTION
It has now been found unnecessary to have two separate banks covering practically the same field. The Jewish Colonial Trust is therefore reverting to the function that Herzl originally intended for it, that of a holding company, while its whole banking business is being transferred to the Anglo-Palestine Bank, which will in future carry on the whole business, both in Palestine and in London. The Jewish Colonial Trust retires from all active banking business. It has fulfilled the purpose for which it was founded. It has called into existence a number of financial institutions in Palestine, which can now stand on their own feet.
The financial position of the Anglo-Palestine Bank is a remarkably healthy one. Its total deposits, at the end of September 1933, anounted to over $20,000,000, and in the suceeding two months of October and November this figure had increased by a further $30,000,000. Its assets show an exceptional liquidity, for nearly $14,000,000, or 60 percent of the deposits, consist of British Government securities, cash in hand and deposits with other banks. Few even of the biggest banks could show so high a proportion of their assets in immediately realizable investments. In addition, some $8,000,000 are invested in Palestine itself in the form of mortgages, loans and investments in industrial and financial undertakings.
CHANGE PURELY FORMAL
The Anglo-Palestine Bank controls the General Mortgage Bank of Palestine, and has considerable holdings in the Palestine Electric Corporation and in Palestine Potash Ltd., three of the most important enterprises in the country.
Many will regret the passing of one of the earliest Zionist institutions in the world. But the change is in most respects a purely formal one. in two respects at least, however, it is significant. In the first place, it is a victory for those sections in Zionism who are in favor of transferring all the central Zionist institutions to Palestine, where they would be in closer touch with the actual work of Jewish reconstruction. In the second place the change illustrates the growing importance of Palestine in Zionist work. While the business of the Diaspora institution had remaned stationary, that of the Palestinian institution had grown enormously.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.