Bank of Cyprus announced on Wednesday a list of measures to help tackle the financial consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, noting that employment, equal pay and social cohesion are the areas to be hit the hardest.
In its announcement, the bank said that its primary aim is to support employees, SMEs, employers and the self-employed, adding that it will continue to announce measures to alleviate the economic fallout from Covid-19 for the duration of the pandemic.
To that end, BoC released its first batch of decisions as follows:
- Upon the end of the nine-month moratorium on loan instalments, clients will not be called to pay the interest all at once. The loan can be extended and the client will be able to choose how they want to repay the instalments. Clients are called to make use of the coming period to discuss restructuring solutions with the bank where required, based on the latest guidelines of the Central Bank.
- Beyond any state guarantees, the bank will make available as much liquidity as required to provide new loans to sustainable clients to help them stay afloat trough the crisis. The primary aim is to safeguard employment in the economy.
- For clients who have a BoC account but no debit card, the latter will be provided imminently and will be free of charge until the end of May. Such clients are called to contact their banker as soon as possible.
- State emergency grants associated with the Covid-19 pandemic transferred into BoC accounts will not be blocked for repayment of loans or other obligations. Those wishing to open a new account with BoC to secure an IBAN for state grants should contact the bank immediately. A debit card will also be issued with the new account free of charge.
- All digipass devices for electronic transactions will continue to be issued free of charge.
- All charges for withdrawing cash abroad from student cards (administration fee, loading fee or exchange fee) for countries outside the Eurozone are suspended until the end of May.
- All electronic transfers to third parties up to 500 euros will be free, effective from April 6. This measure aims to help parents transfer funds to students.
- All Direct Debits and Standing Orders will be free until the end of May.
- Lastly, it is reminded that the nine-month suspension of loan instalments includes March instalments.Speaking of the new measures, BoC’s CEO Panicos Nicolaou said: “We will overcome this crisis. When all this ends, we want to be strong. Our first aim is to not lose lives. The second is to not lose jobs. This needs to be the basic factor that decisions will be measured against at the end of the crisis.”