CBC Emerges From the Shadows

11 July 2015

Yesterday afternoon the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) issued a statement to the media in Cyprus attempting to justify its actions against FBME Bank’s Cyprus branch a year ago, on 21 July, and its subsequent stranglehold which has imperilled the Republic and its taxpayers, financial stability in the banking sector, the livelihoods of customers and employees, and the reputation of the CBC itself.

Among its claims, that it acted and continued to take decisions to protect the public interest is probably the wildest. It should be remembered that it has failed to cooperate with elected representatives of the public who sit on the merit committee at the Cyprus Parliament not once, but three times this year!

The full CBC statement and the rebuttal by FBME Limited are run point-by-point on this website to give the public the chance to make up their minds. However, given that this is the first evidence of the CBC’s motivations that has been made public in a year, it would churlish to reject what CBC has to say out of hand.

Signally, the CBC’s statement claims that it has exerted efforts to cooperate with stakeholders to find a solution at the “soonest possible”- presumably the earliest opportunity. We need to put aside that this is a strange assertion given that the CBC has failed to reply to a number of overtures from FBME directors, managers and staff, from customers and affiliates, from the Bank of Tanzania and, we understand, from the local and international media, going back 12 months.

Instead, we should focus on the fact that at last they want to meet to solve the problem. We welcome the offer to sit down to agree an “optimum solution” for all concerned and state that we are happy to do this as soon as possible in the coming days. We cannot say fairer than that.

Understandably, the CBC is feeling very sensitive about how it has been portrayed. Its statement, riddled with blatant inaccuracies, does little to clear that up but if we can take the offer to cooperate as being a true sign of a major change of heart, then it is to be welcomed.

As they say in the movies, let your people talk to ours to arrange a sit-down.