Cyprus banking Crisis

Cyprus Banking Crisis

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have drawn up a €10 billion international bailout plan to address Cyprus’ banking crisis.

A one-off levy was previously proposed on bank deposits. This tax ranged from 6.75% for savings amounts between €20,000 and €100,000, and 9.9% on amounts of €100,000 and above. The levy was due to raise a significant €5.8bn towards bailing out Cyprus but was incredibly unpopular with savers and residents alike. The plan was voted down by Cyprus’s parliament last week.

After the parliamentary vote a new plan was drawn up concerning the restructuring of Cypriot banks. No bank levy is included in this new plan. Tax rises and privatisation are also due to be implemented but savers with deposits of €100,000 or less will be protected.

It is not yet clear how much will be taxed from customers holding more than €100,000, as much as 30% is rumoured, however, deposits will be frozen or moved into the Bank of Cyprus while the restructuring occurs.

UK customers may be at risk depending on which bank they are with. The Bank of Cyprus UK which has around 50,000 UK customers is protected by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and so savings of up to £85,000 are secure.

Laiki Bank, the second largest bank in Cyprus, has four branches in Britain but is not covered by the FSCS. This means customer’s savings are at risk, although Laiki say that deposits up to €100,000 are guaranteed and that customers can make withdraws.

The bailout plans have alleviated the threat of collapse in Cyprus’ banking sector, allowing the country to restructure the banks with much less effect on their membership to the Eurozone.