Banks reopen in Cyprus after bailout

Nicosia, March 29 (IANS/EFE) Banks reopened in Cyprus Thursday after being closed for nearly two weeks, with officials saying there were no problems at branches across the Mediterranean island.

Managers at some bank branches oversaw lines and handed out brochures explaining the capital controls established in the wake of the island’s financial crisis.
Individual depositors are only allowed to withdraw 300 euros ($384) per day, making it difficult for some people to pay large bills, such as rent.
Customers lined up outside Laiki Bank, which is being liquidated, but the atmosphere was calm.
All Laiki Bank accounts containing less than 100,000 euros (about $128,000) are being automatically transferred to the Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest financial institution, while accounts exceeding the deposit insurance limit will end up in a so-called “bad bank”.
Cyprus reached a $13 billion bailout agreement Monday with its Eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund that protects small bank depositors while penalizing holders of large accounts and shrinking the banking system.
Cyprus, whose banks have been battered by their heavy exposure to Greek government debt, is the eurozone’s smallest economy.
Laiki Bank, the second-largest financial institution in Cyprus, is being liquidated “immediately” with the “full contribution of shareholders, bondholders (junior and senior) and uninsured depositors” over 100,000 euros (about $129,470) under the terms of legislation passed last Friday by the Cypriot Parliament.
–IANS/EFE
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