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Bank of Cyprus CEO calls for need to change law on collections

28 May, 2014

The chief executive of Bank of Cyprus has called for a change in the law regarding the collection and recovery of non-performing loans in order for the bank to be able to return to normal operations and profitability.
Speaking at a conference in Nicosia on the future of asset management in Cyprus and Greece, CEO John Hourican said, however, that the level non-performing loans is stabilising and that the bank is more aggressive in pursuing the ‘high end’ borrowers and compassionate when it comes to ‘lower end’ borrowers.
However, his statement were not too convincing as the bank has repeatedly said since last December that the level of NPLs has “stabilised”, but in fact this has risen by several percentage points to nearly 50% of its loans portfolio.
Hourican also told the eager crowd that there was a need for confidence to return to Cyprus’ banking sector.
“The bank is delivering, the bank is making progress”, he said, adding that “we are announcing each step of that progress as we go”.
“If we find a viable business we would like to see that viable business can survive and we make any restructuring to ensure that people stay employed”, Hourican declared, probably in total disregard of the majority of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are suffering due to poor collection methods from large debtors and the lack of cash flow.
On the other hand he added that “if we find a non viable business we proceed to execute collateral that covers our loans”.
Replying to another question he said that there are “a lot of things that have to come right in order for the bank to generate capital, generate returns to investors”.
At the same time he reiterated that BoC is “making good progress”, noting that “we have a clear repatriation of overseas capital agenda going on”.