Cyprus: Armed police on stand-by as banks open for first time in TWO WEEKS… and thousands of angry customers want their money
- Armed police and security staff on guard over fears of a run on deposits
- Banks will be open for six hours today from 10am GMT (noon local time)
- Maximum cash withdrawal limit has been set at 300 euros (£250) per day
- Travellers leaving country can only take equivalent of 1,000 euros (£850)
- Curbs will be in place for at least seven calendar days and reviewed daily
- Banks shut since March 16 as politicians struggled to secure EU bailout
Tens of thousands of Cypriots descended on the island’s banks when they re-opened for the first time in two weeks today after being shut due to the country’s financial crisis.
Armed police are on standby and hundreds of staff from private security firm G4S will be guarding bank branches and helping to transport money over fears of a run on deposits.
Long lines had formed outside some bank branches, particularly those of Laiki, which is to be restructured, before they opened at noon (10pm GMT).
Some Laiki branches in central Nicosia had not opened exactly on time, with customers waiting patiently outside.
Strict restrictions have been set on financial transactions, including a maximum cash withdrawal limit of 300 euros (£250) per day and no cheques will be cashed.
Travellers leaving the country can only take up to 1,000 euros (£850), or the equivalent in foreign currency, with them in cash.
GLANCE: WHAT BANKING RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE
- Individuals cannot withdraw more than 300 euros per day from any one bank, unless they have withdrawn less than 300 euros the previous day.
- Cheques cannot be cashed, unless they were issued by a bank in another country.
- Non-cash payments or money transfers are prohibited unless:
– They are for commercial transactions. Payments below 5,000 euros have no restrictions. Payments from 5,001 euros to 200,000 euros must be approved by the central bank, which will consider the liquidity of the bank involved and make a decision within 24 hours.Payments above 200,000 euros will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis.
– They are for payroll, and supporting documents are presented.
– They are for living expenses or tuition fees of students who are close relatives of Cyprus residents. Transfers for living expenses are capped at 5,000 euros a quarter, and supporting documents must be supplied.
– They are for credit or debit cards. Payments are capped at 5,000 euros per month.
- Time deposits, where money is put in an account for an agreed period, cannot be withdrawn early unless the money will be used to pay off a loan to the same bank.
- Banks cannot make non-cash payments or money transfers that circumvent the capital controls.
- Capital controls are in place for all accounts, payments and money transfers in any currency.
The capital controls do not apply to:
- Any new money deposited from abroad after March 27
- Cash withdrawals via debit or credit card from an account in another country
- Diplomatic mission