Cyprus Mail

BoC defends closure of Dherynia branch

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Bank of Cyprus’ Dherynia branch is closing in July due to concerns over profitability, safety and operating costs, while increasing digitalisation and online services are also contributing factors, the bank said.

Senior bank officials responded to the town’s mayor, Andros Karayiannis, who had sent a letter to the bank on April 13 calling for the branch to remain operational. He expressed his understanding of the digital transformation of bank services but said that society must first be prepared for such a shift.

In response, the bank said it understood the concerns but that the services have been digitally upgraded which allow for faster access at reduced cost. In Karayiannis’ letter, however, he argued that the changes will lead to more hassle for customers.

The bank added that it has invested significantly in its digital services – resulting in 90 per cent of transactions taking place through such channels. As such, there are fewer in-person customers.

There were 112 BoC branches in December 2018 which was reduced to 75 by March, with plans for this to be further reduced to 60 by July.

It also explained that it is seeking to facilitate a cashback programme. The Cyprus Mail has previously reported that discussions are underway with JCC card payment system to offer cashbacks without any added charges throughout a wide array of businesses and shops, from tavernas, to kiosks and petrol stations – points of daily interaction, therefore eliminating the need for an ATM.

Universally used in countries such as the UK, cashback is where a customer pays by card for whichever product they are purchasing and asks for a further amount to be charged – say €20 or even up to €100 – with the added amount then handed over in cash.

In any case, the bank in its response sought to reassure the community that its nearest BoC branch in Paralimni is at a distance of 3.8km, hosting two 24-hour ATMs.

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