By Staff Reporter
Co-ops will next month be announcing a number of initiatives to help vulnerable borrowers, Co-operative Central Bank chief Nicolas Hadjiyiannis said on Wednesday.
He was speaking after a meeting with Archbishop Chrysostomos to whom he handed a cheque for €5,000 to help the needy who are provided for by the Church food bank.
The announcement about helping borrowers in difficulties came a day after the Bank of Cyprus said it had cut the interest rates to the loans of 4,200 people belonging to vulnerable groups by up to 1.0 per cent. The lender said it had cut the rate on around 3,000 housing loans and 1,200 student loans. BoC has also restructured the loans of over 1,500 unemployed people, who were also considered to be part of the vulnerable groups of the population.
Hadjiyiannis said the co-ops would also be introducing schemes to assist once its internal restructuring was completed.
Commenting on the fact that 280 co-op staff had applied for early retirement, he said this had been the target number as part of the movement’s requirement to cut costs by 30 per cent. The plan was to cut the sector’s 3,000 workers by 10 per cent, with the minimum number of departures being 250 and the maximum 300.
Hadjiyianis said the retirement scheme would save €300 million over five years. This would help towards a faster recovery of the sector, he said.
As part of the island’s €10 billion international bailout, co-ops will receive €1.5 billion in taxpayers’ money to recapitalise.
The sector has been reduced in size through mergers, which were concluded last month.
As part of the restructure, the island’s 93 co-operatives merged into 18.