Cyprus Mail

Banks ‘unlikely to extend moratorium’ on loan repayments

The possibility of banks extending a moratorium on loan repayment beyond the end of the year is not likely, a senior banker said on Friday.

Hellenic Bank’s acting executive director Fivos Stasopoulos said it would be difficult for lenders to extend a moratorium on monthly loan payments, introduced in March to help borrowers weather the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

The repayment suspension covers businesses, self-employed persons, and individuals who had been consistent with their dues.

Replying to a question, Stasopoulos conceded it would be logical for one to consider an extension for the hotel sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, but the scheme implemented in Cyprus was especially favourable and was embraced by a lot of borrowers.

“For these reasons, I personally think the possibility of extending the moratorium would be difficult, even in specific sectors,” Stasopoulos said.

He added that Hellenic examined each case individually and was already engaging with clients to hear their problems and seek solutions.

The executive said the Cypriot banking system and the state were in better position to tackle the crisis caused by the pandemic compared with 2012, even though that was a different crisis.

Stasopoulos said banks had capital and liquidity, and the state had room to maneuverer.

Hellenic maintained its macroeconomic forecasts for 2020, which expect a drop in GDP of 5 per cent.

The lender expects its bad debts to rise by 10 per cent after the moratorium was lifted, under the pessimistic scenario.

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