x

Society

Cyprus Bank CEO Rips Lawmakers

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Lawmakers have let bailed-out Cyprus down at times, the outgoing chief executive of the country’s biggest bank said Nov. 18, adding that “shenanigans” which delayed key laws aimed at helping banks collect on a huge number of bad loans have left him disappointed.

In a scathing critique of Cypriot legislators, Bank of Cyprus CEO John Patrick Hourican said it’s been “embarrassing” for him to explain abroad actions that had delayed and diluted a key foreclosure law that was passed last year.

He said in an interview with The Associated Press that the law is neither strong enough nor its implementation swift enough, hampering the bank’s ability to boost lending and getting the economy growing faster. Legislative gaps — like where auctions on foreclosed property will be held — remain a stumbling block.

The Bank of Cyprus was at the center of a March 2013 multibillion euro rescue deal that forced a seizure of uninsured deposits in the country’s two largest lenders and shuttered the smaller bank.

Although Cyprus has earned plaudits for sticking to its rescue program’s terms, creditors point out that bad loans remain the country’s No. 1 priority. Around half of Bank of Cyprus’ 24 billion euros ($25.6 billion) worth of loans are sour, Hourican said.

Hourican said Cyprus was “poorly treated” by its European Union partners and called the deposit grab a “cardiac arrest” of such scope that confidence in the Cypriot banking system will take many years to fully restore.

Hourican, who took the job in October 2013 and helped put the deeply ailing bank on a firmer footing, conceded that lawmakers have done their bit to satisfy creditors’ demands.

But “populist” rhetoric is prompting some borrowers to hold back from repaying what they owe on the impression they can get a “better deal.”

“The parliamentarians have decided heading into an election year that it’s good to raise populist measures and what they’re doing is driving up delinquencies and not helping us fix them,” Hourican said.

“I would like some maturity and responsibility taken in helping the country driving its legislative agenda, recognizing that depositors of this bank are the victims at this point in time, whether you like it or not.”

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will plead with bank chiefs Nov. 19 to tackle the bad loan issue more quickly.

“Now we can provide credit to the economy … but it will be turbo-charged by people meeting their obligations,” Hourican said.

___

MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS

RELATED

It was a close brush with death but a 40-year-old British tourist bitten by a deadly viper while at a yoga retreat on Cyprus is recovering after getting swift hospitalization to counteract the venom.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

9 Are Facing Charges in What Police in Canada Say is the Biggest Gold Theft in the Country’s History

TORONTO (AP) — Police said nine people are facing charges in what authorities are calling the biggest gold theft in Canadian history from Toronto’s Pearson International airport a year ago.

Allman Brothers Band co-founder and legendary guitarist Dickey Betts dies at 80 Dickey Betts, who died Thursday at age 80, really was born a ramblin’ man.

NEW YORK  — New York police removed a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at Columbia University on Thursday and arrested more than 100 demonstrators, including the daughter of a prominent Minnesota congresswoman.

ATHENS - The special 'Easter Basket,' which offers traditional Easter foods at lower or unchanged prices, will come into effect from April 24 to May 4.

LIVERPOOL - Liverpool failed to overcome a three-goal deficit and was eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday despite beating Atalanta 1-0 in the second leg of their quarterfinal matchup.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.