News Column

Cyprus restructured loans reach €12 bln, 27% of total; NPLs at 48%

July 3, 2014

Restructured loans in the Cypriot banking system reached 12 bln in April or 27% of all loans in the island's system, according to figures released by the Association of Cyprus Banks (ACB).

According to an article co-written by Michael Kammas, the ACB's Director General and senior officer Michalis Kronides, total loans in April amounted to 44 bln of which 48% are considered as non-performing.

Loans to the housing sector is the biggest loan category totalling 7.2 bln of which 5 bln are considered as NPLs, including restructured loans which continue to be regarded as NPL, according to a Central Bank directive to which commercial banks have objected.

According to the ACB, restructured loans in the construction sector reached 3 bln or 43% of the sector's loan portfolio.

Restructured loans to households for home purchase have recorded a slower pace. From a total of 5.8 bln of which 2 bln are classified as NPLs, restructured loans reached 1.5 bln or 26% of total loans for house purchase.

"The above figures show that a significant number of loans has already been restructured despite the fact that a part (of restructured loans) continues to be classified as non performing due to the CBC's new directive. Therefore what is needed is patience and a further strengthening of the cooperation between the bank and the borrower and the containment of strategic defaults," the article noted.

Responding to politicians who criticise the banks for insufficient restructuring efforts, the ACB noted that "despite the adverse financial and other conditions the banks have responded to the challenge and proceeded with restructuring of problem loans where the borrower is viable and cooperative."

Furthermore, Kammas and Kronides highlighted the issue concerning the quick pace with which Cyprus has implemented a restructuring directive, compared to other bailed-out countries.

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Source: Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

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