People working for the largest bank in Cyprus massed at the Nicosia headquarters in support of the bank’s chairman, who has resigned in the wake of the country’s bailout.
Andreas Artemis quit after the country’s central bank appointed an administrator to oversee the restructuring of the Bank of Cyprus.
Staff are also anxious about what the restructuring means for their jobs.
Referring to the decision to dissolve the largest bank, Laiki, also known as Cyprus Popular Bank, employee Panicos Stelianou said:
“After the comments by the central bank chief, Mr Demetriades, about restructuring of the Bank of Cyprus, which is similar to plans for the Popular Bank, we can see exactly what’s going on.
“Mr Artemis resigned and everything is volatile. If their only goal was to destroy the banking sector in Cyprus, then it looks like they found a way. After Popular Bank it will be us.”
Another employee Andreas Vassiliou explained what the gathering at the Nicosia headquarters was all about.
“It is a big demonstration. The workers of the Bank of Cyprus have shown once again that they are demanding their rights. We are carrying out a very dignified and peaceful protest and it is only to secure the rights of the employees of the Bank of Cyprus” he said.
There are unconfirmed reports that customers of the Bank of Cyprus with more than 100,000 euros in their account will have the levy imposed on Friday – though there is still no percentage figure. Finance Minister Michael Sarris has said the ‘haircut’ is expected to be around 40 percent.
euronews’ correspondent in Nicosia Stamatis Giannisis said: “It’s the second week in a row that the banks have remained closed, causing serious cash shortages for ordinary people and businesses. But even if they reopen on Thursday, as the government has announced, it’s expected to be a very long time until the banking transaction system gets back on track.”
The Cyprus bank bailout
- The bailout will mean a significant restructuring of Cyprus’ banking sector
- The country’s second largest bank, Laiki bank, will be split into two parts, a “bad bank” and “good bank”, before being closed, incurring thousands of job losses
- Deposits in Laiki bank of less than 100,000 euros (effectively the “good bank”) are insured by EU law and will be transferred to the country’s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus
- Deposits in Laiki bank of more than 100,000 euros are not insured by EU law and will be put into the “bad bank”
- Deposits in this “bad bank” and deposits of more than 100,000 euros in Bank of Cyprus will be frozen and used to pay Laiki’s debts and recapitalize Bank of Cyprus. These uninsured depositors will have to face forced losses of up to 40% on their deposits