CYPRUS: Hellenic brings back 4,550 frozen Co-op accounts

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Thousands of ex Co-op customers have been brought back from the cold after they were left without access to their accounts after Hellenic Bank’s official takeover last week.

Negotiations paid off on Thursday as Hellenic accepted onboard more than 4,500 frozen accounts.

Some 4,559 accounts belonging to former Co-op customers were initially denied access to their accounts when they were not transferred to Hellenic Bank because they were considered to be connected to non-performing loans (NPLs).

Government and HB officials were in negotiations over how to resolve the issue earlier this week, as Hellenic initially refused to take on the accounts which were initially estimated to have a value of EUR 20 mln.

Hellenic Bank announced on Thursday that, it has agreed to accept the 4,559 new accounts which carry an overdraft, following intense negotiations and consultation with the Finance Ministry and the former Co-op within the framework of the agreement dated June 25, 2018.

The agreement concerns 4,559 overdraft accounts with a total limit of approximately EUR 25 million and a balance of EUR 21 million. Specifically, 3,670 are owned by individuals, while 889 belong to companies.

HB had previously denied onboarding these accounts invoking ECB definitions applied by the bank, arguing that the accounts in question should have been classified as non-performing because they were directly or indirectly linked to non-performing loans.

“These accounts will be activated immediately, including all other facilities such as standing orders, cheque books, cards…We will be informing these customers by phone. A very small portion of customers for whom there is no other contact information available will be informed in writing," said Hellenic.