Cyprus Mail

Reducing lending rates is difficult: bank association

Hellenic Bank now needs to raise another €34m in additional capital out of the total of €294m noted by Pimco

The bank association said on Monday that cutting lending rates was difficult due to the liquidity crunch they were going through as a result of the lack of public confidence.

“The state expects a lot from the banks but it should realise that they are still working in an environment of tight liquidity,” association chairman Marios Clerides said.

He said people have taken their money out and do not trust banks.

“Until the cash returns to the banking system so that are able to lend we will be somewhat trapped in this environment,” he said.

Clerides suggested that public confidence will return when banks stop being the leading subject in the news.

Banks reduced their lending rates earlier this month though some observers said they did not go far enough.

Before that, parliament was mulling mulling legislation that would force banks to lower their rates.

The latest statistics released by the Central Bank showed that housing loans in Cyprus remain the most expensive in the eurozone.

In September, housing loans with a one-year fixed rate (and variable subsequently), the average interest stood at 5.44 per cent, up from 5.33 per cent in August, not including administration fees.

By contrast, the eurozone average was 2.82 per cent.

Loans to businesses (up to €1m) also became pricier, rising to 6.63 per cent in September from 6.03 the previous month. But consumer loans did drop to 6.90 per cent in September from 7.04 per cent in August.

On the other end, interest on households’ deposits went up marginally. One-year deposits rose to 2.20 per cent from 2.18 per cent, while interest on deposits with an agreed maturity (up to two years) climbed to 3.58 from 3.52 per cent in August.

Interest paid on businesses’ deposits with an agreed maturity (up to one year) tapered to 1.90 per cent from 1.96 per cent previously.

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