Bank of Cyprus is taking a series of measures to deal with the crisis
Faced by crises that test our limits - be it as individuals, organisations, the state or society in general - we all need to conduct ourselves responsibly and in a serious manner. The health of all concerned - colleagues, customers and associates - remains the top priority.
At the same time we are formulating our response to the economic fallout from the current crisis. The economic consequences will first and foremost hurt jobs, equal pay and social cohesion.
We are an organisation deeply rooted in Cypriot history. During the good times we lead the way forward, and in trying times we support the livelihood and jobs of our fellow human beings, giving them hope and something to look forward to. Now, once again we must rise to the challenge as dictated by our role and our conscience.
Before we even took any banking-related steps, we launched a major support drive, providing assistance to the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health, the 1420 coordination centre, the Institute of Genetics, the Ministry of Education and other agencies and organisations. Our support is financial but also relates to coordination and management activities.
Meanwhile Bank of Cyprus customers are already joining the #SupportCy network which we aspire to transform into one of the more positive legacies of the crisis. We thank the Reaction NGO for their role in this drive.
We shall be conducting our main business in a similar vein.
Our overriding objective is to support employees, the self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses and employers.
Throughout the pandemic emergency we shall continue to unveil measures geared at dealing with the economic fallout. The first measures, announced on 01.04.20, are as follows:
Regarding loans for which installments are to be suspended for nine months, it is noted that customers will not be asked to immediately pay the interest at the end of the moratorium period. The loan repayment period will be adjusted accordingly and customers will be given options on to how to repay these installments.
We also urge our customers to make the most of this timeframe in order to discuss with us loan restructuring solutions where necessary, based on the latest Central Bank of Cyprus guidelines.
Other than any government guarantee scheme, Bank of Cyprus will be making available as much liquidity as needed in issuing new credit facilities to viable customers, to ensure they remain viable going concerns as we come out of the crisis. The primary goal is to safeguard employment.
For customers holding an account with Bank of Cyprus, but who do not hold a debit card, we shall be issuing debit cards free of charge and on a fast-track basis. These customers should get in touch with their banker as soon as possible.
More broadly, direct debit cards will be issued free of charge until the end of May.
Benefits related to the current pandemic and which are remitted into Bank of Cyprus accounts, will not be held against debt or other obligations.
Persons wishing to open a new account with Bank of Cyprus should immediately contact the bank to make the arrangements and to be issued an IBAN so that payment of benefits may commence without delay. It goes without saying that these persons will also be issued a debit card, free of charge.
All digipass devices for electronic transactions will continue being provided free of charge. This relates to SMS Digipass devices.
All charges (administration fee, loading fee or exchange fee) on cash withdrawals made with student cards from overseas and in countries outside the Eurozone, are suspended until the end of May.
All wire transfers of up to €500 to third parties will be free. This is chiefly geared at wire transfers from parents to students. This applies as of April 6 and relates to wire transfers in euro within Cyprus and the Eurozone (Single Euro Payments Area).
All Direct Debit orders and standing orders shall be free until the end of May.
Following on from a previous announcement, it is further clarified that the suspension of installments applies to installments as of March. The Bank will be providing ongoing updates on any changes relating to supporting our customers as well as on other measures decided.
The road ahead will be long. We will only get one chance at supporting the economy in an effective way. The measures need to be financially sound and effective in achieving their objective as we strive to extricate Cyprus from the current crisis. There is no reason to rush, and additional measures will be announced soon.
Commenting on the measures announced today, Bank of Cyprus CEO Panicos Nicolaou said:
"We shall overcome this crisis. Once this chapter is over, we want to come out of it strong. First and foremost, let us not lose lives. Secondly, let us not lose jobs.
"This should be the yardstick against which any decisions and steps will be measured once the crisis is over."