Cutting Bad Loans, Bailed-out Bank of Cyprus Shows Profit

FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2013, file photo. a man uses an ATM machine outside of a branch of Bank of Cyprus in capital Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

NICOSIA – Five years after an economic crisis brought on by bad loans and losses on devalued Greek bonds, the Bank of Cyprus showed a profit of 43 million euros ($50.03 million) in the first quarter as a rebound continued.

The bank said it shot to profitability by reducing the number of bad loans by 454 million euros ($528.19 million), or five percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year, the Cyprus Mail said.

“We remain confident that we can make further progress in reducing our NPE (Non-Performing Exposure) stock during the coming quarters and we remain on-track to achieve our full year target of two billion euros ($2.33 billion) organic NPE reduction,” the bank’s CEO John Hourican said.

“At the same time, we continue to actively explore certain structured solutions to further accelerate NPE reduction and more quickly return the bank to a more normalized position.”

At the end of the first quarter of 2018, the bank’s NPE ratio was 45 percent while coverage reached 51 per cent, well-above the EU average of 44 per cent and in line with our medium-term target of coverage above 50 per cent, he said.

He said it was the continuation of a three-year run in cutting bad loans without mentioning how many people were devastated when Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, reneging on promises, allowed banks to confiscate 47.5 percent of bank accounts over 100,000 euros ($116,340) to pay for mistakes in bad loans, many to Greek businesses, and buying Greek bonds that devalued 74 percent in a futile attempt by the Greek government to cut debt.

He also didn’t say that the bank’s comeback was based partly on taking money that belonged to account holders while Anastasiades, breaking another vow, didn’t hold any bankers accountable for almost topping the country’s economy.