By Stelios Orphanides
Non-performing loans in the Cypriot banking system fell in February by €122m to €22bn or 45.3 per cent in a month and by €1.9bn in a year, the Central Bank of Cyprus said.
Household and corporate non-performing loans fell by €113.1m and €13.5m in February compared to January to €11.4bn and €10.1bn respectively or to 54.9 per cent and 52.6 per cent of their respective total, the central bank said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. Total loans rose by €98.7m to €48.5bn. Outstanding corporate loans rose by €51.4m to €19.3bn while household loans fell by €150.6m to €20.7bn.
Banks, which increased their provisions for loan impairments in January by more than €2bn compared to the month before following the introduction of the international financial reporting standards 9 (IFRS9), raised them by additional €185.6m in February in a month to €11.8bn, the central bank said.
The amount of loans with more than 90 days in arrears fell in February by €122m in a month to €17.2bn, while that of the restructured facilities dropped by €61m to €12.bn, the bank supervisor said. The amount of restructured facilities deemed cured rose by €10.8m to €8.9bn. The cure ratio, i.e. the amount of restructured loans regularly serviced by borrowers compared to total restructured loans was 73.8 per cent.
Non-performing loans are deemed the most serious threat to Cyprus’s fragile banking system and economic recovery. The government plans to reduce bad loans by one third until the end of the year via the sale of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank’s healthy part and the creation of a bad bank.
Since December 2014, non-performing loans fell by €5.3bn accompanied by a €8.7bn drop in total lending while provisions rose by €2.9bn.