Central Bank Governor
Bankers said that the presence of Salameh at the conference demonstrated the importance of the visit.
The high-profile visit coincides with renewed efforts to unify the divided island and at a time when the Greek-Cypriot government struggles to bail the economy out of its financial and economic crisis.
"Most Cypriot banks have not yet managed to overcome their financial problems, and most of them are still reporting losses," one banker told
"Lebanese banks can issue letters of credit on behalf of Cypriot traders because Cypriot banks do not have the means or credibility to do such things."
Local bankers seem more confident about the future of
"Many Cypriots have withdrawn their money from the local banks following the financial crisis. Now these Cypriots want to use this cash which they stashed away and place it in banks that they can trust, and the Lebanese banks are one of them," another banker said.
He said Cypriot merchants and traders would also seek letters of credit from Lebanese banks to finance trade operations with the
Bankers at that time told
But Lebanese banks did not entirely withdraw from the Cypriot market despite the withdrawal of deposits. Unlike most Cypriot banks, Lebanese lenders in the island enjoyed high capital-adequacy ratios and sufficient provisions for nonperforming loans, according to bankers.
"All of the seven banks that established a foothold in
One of the participants in the conference declined to elaborate on the visit but assured
"We are looking at expanding the opportunities in
"Historically, Lebanese-Cypriot ties go back to a long time ago. We shouldn't forget that
He said Lebanese banks had strengths that could be used to help the Cypriot merchants and economy.
"We should also remember that Lebanese banks are very liquid and have an abundance of credit and an abundance of resources," he said.
But Sarrouh insisted that Lebanese deposits would not return to the island until banks saw real improvement in the economy and financial sectors.
Sarrouh and other bankers are also betting that when the unification of
"Lebanese banks can also play a big role in financing certain projects once the island's oil and gas exploration kicks off. The future of
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