Bank of Cyprus’s chief executive officer John Hourican said confidence in the bank has improved “dramatically” over the past years in which the lender performed better than expected.
Speaking to the Beijng-based Global Times, which published a special report on Cyprus on Monday, Hourican said Cyprus’s largest lender gained the trust of the Cypriot society by exceeding expectations, including in reducing non-performing loans.
“We’ve now taken 22 per cent of gross domestic product off our balance sheet, which is 15 times more than any other bank in Europe,” the Irish banker was quoted as saying. “Another way to put it is last year we took €3bn off of our balance sheet, similar to the progress of the entire Greek banking system over the same period”.
Hourican also said that the island’s geographic position could help China connect to Europe “in a more organised way” while Chinese investment could determine the future of the Cypriot economy.
“It’s under Asia, above Africa, and at the very edge of Europe,” he said. “I believe that smart Chinese money should look at Cyprus because it’s an €18bn economy, so a €1bn investment is 6 per cent of gross domestic product. You can change the nature of the entire country with a relatively small investment from China”.