Consumer visits to retail bank branches in Cyprus on Wednesday were at normal levels despite the coronavirus outbreak which has turned other sectors of the economy upside down, Phileleftheros reports.
Both Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank have recorded no significant change in the number of customer visits, while transactions at ATMs were also at normal levels, insiders said.
Bank sources believe it is premature to conclude whether the coronavirus epidemic will affect customer behaviour and reduce visits to bank branches.
It was business as usual also for bank employees, with the exception of a handful who stayed home for preventive reasons after returning from a trip to countries associated with relevant instructions.
Banks take precautionary measures and business continuity plans are continuous, including the separation of personnel at specific services with some working from a different location within the lender or even from home.
Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank Andrea Enria has already called on banks to review their business continuity plans. And to consider what actions can be taken to enhance preparedness to minimise the potential adverse effects of the spread.
But even though everything appears normal at the operational level – at least up until Wednesday – top-level management teams are closely monitoring developments, focusing deeply on the tourism sector.
As far as reduced bookings or cancellations for the months of March and April go, the situation is not of great concern yet.
Any calculations would be premature, insiders said, acknowledging though that if the trend continues and takes a wider dimension then the country’s fiscal program will be severely affected.
If the coronavirus effects gradually spread across the wider economy, this may affect the process of payments.
In addition to the tourism sector, banks are also monitoring those of shipping and, to a lesser extent, that of construction.
By Theano Theiopoulou