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Meeting with banks association constructive, Finance Minister says

finance minister constantinos petrides
Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides on Friday met with the Association of Cyprus Banks, discussing the issue of loans being mislabeled as non-performing, Estia scheme appeals, as well as non-viable borrowers, with the minister describing the meeting as constructive.

Petrides asked that borrowers whose loans were categorised as non-performing when that was not the case be identified, since this prevented them from being included in the Estia scheme.

The Finance Minister also requested that the review process for applicants who have appealed after being rejected is sped up, while asking banks to not proceed with the foreclosure of properties concerning non-viable borrowers under the Estia scheme until a government programme, through asset management company Kedipes, has been set up for them.

“We discussed the issue of apparent restructurings which made it impossible for applicants to be inducted into the Estia scheme, under the assumption that their loans were restructured, meaning their instalments would increase sharply in the future, rendering the loans non-performing,” Petrides said.

“We have asked the banks to find these cases so that the Cabinet of Ministers can act in order to include our fellow citizens into the scheme,” he added.

Regarding Estia applicants who have been rejected and have since appealed the decision, Petrides said that there is now a large number of such cases, with the meeting examining how the review process can be altered to speed things up.

“Our goal is to cover our compatriots who meet the criteria, but not by interpreting them in a completely strict way,” Petrides said.

On the issue of increased bank charges, the Finance Minister said that he raised it with the banks, who reiterated their position that the law is implemented based on the relevant European directive and that compared to other countries the charges are low.

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