Methodist Pension Board Blacklists Five Banks

It is believed the Israeli banks help finance settlement construction in what some consider illegally occupied Palestinian territories, according to news reports.

The pension fund board for the United Methodist Church has blocked five Israeli banks from its investment portfolio. According to news reports, the board describes the move as a broad review meant to weed out companies that profit from abuse of human rights.

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits blacklisted Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.

In February 2015, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (GBPHB), and its Wespath investment management division, announced the implementation of two new investment guidelines. The guidelines provide direction for identifying and managing the excessive sustainability risk that could potentially affect the value of assets held on behalf of benefit plans and institutional investment clients. One guideline relates to climate change; the other relates to human rights.