The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC), professional regulatory bodies and business stakeholders have agreed on ten steps to rationalise banking procedures.
These include Know-Your Client (KyC) and client due diligence, speeding up transactions vital for the economy, while ensuring compliance with the EU and international anti money-laundering regulations, CBC Governor Constantinos Herodotou said.
These issues were discussed during a broad meeting convened by the Herodotou, in the presence of CEOs and compliance officers of commercial banks, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers and Industrialists Federation and professional regulatory bodies such as the Cyprus Bar Association and the Cyprus Institute of Certified Public Accountants along with Invest Cyprus and the Cyprus Investment Funds Association.
The meeting covered complaints often expressed by businesses, that strict procedures followed by banks such as the KYC and due diligence imposed by anti-money laundering (AML) laws obstruct financial activity in Cyprus’ service-based economy.
“We have concluded on a total of ten measures, which will be implemented so that the procedures will be more efficient,” Herodotou said in statements following the meeting, adding that more meetings will follow to examine the progress made “so that we could see practical results for the economy.”
Responding to a question over the measures that have been decided, Herodotou said that a working group will be established involving the banks, and all stakeholders with the participation of the CBC “which will make sure that any measures agreed on more efficient procedures will comply with European regulations.”
He also said that the CBC had set up a financial conduct service which will assess complaints made to the regulator on these issues “so that we could point out measures that would be appropriate.
“Surely if we all change our approach somewhat… all stakeholders… more effective procedures could be achieved and that is what we have discussed,” he said.
The Association of Cyprus Banks (ACB) in a statement issued afterwards said the banks “have listened carefully” to the concerns and thoughts of the economic stakeholders with regard to promoting ways of increasing the productivity of the Cypriot economy.
“As the Cyprus banking sector we reaffirmed our intention to implement further best practises and substantive proposals which would boost productivity and competitiveness as well as Cyprus’ brand name abroad as a reliable business destination,” the ACB added.