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Bank actions cast doubt on Interior Minister assertion

The case of a divorced young woman reported in the Cyprus Weekly casts serious doubt on the Interior Minister’s assertion that it is not a simple matter for a bank to liquidate a property to recover a debt in Cyprus.

ACCORDING to the newspaper report, Limassol-based Doxoulla Michael is one of many divorced young women at risk of losing their home, simply because they guaranteed the loans of men they have since divorced.

Ms Michael and countless others are shunted from court to court, chased by banks for debts that are not their own.

They came and photographed my house to value it and tried to auction it twice, but I protested. I said I would blow myself up in it and the procedure stopped,” she said.

So they took her to court to pay for business loans her ex-husband had before their divorce.

There are loans in five banks amounting to more than €500,000, which I cannot pay and why should I? My ex is currently running a business and the banks continue to give him loans and they have opened a current account for him.

My family home was built by my parents and grandparents with great pain and deprivation and it belongs to my children. Why should it go for nothing to the banks, because my ex is getting away with murder and continues to run a company which the banks know of?

President of the Cyprus Divorced Women Association Loulla Savvidou says that of the 2,000 women registered with the association, 90% of them face serious financial problems and run the risk of losing their homes and properties to the banks and co-ops for outstanding loans.

These loans were taken out by former husbands, most of them wealthy, Savvidou says.

Yet the banks try to find the easiest way to get their money by going to the guarantors, who are women.

These men either disappear or tell the court lies that they cannot pay their loans because they have no earnings.

Yet, the banks do not exhaust all possibilities with the person who has taken out the loan before they go to the guarantor.

“And lawyers want a lot of money to deal with property matters, and when they mess up a case, they do not release its file, so that women can go to another lawyer, unless they get paid,” said Savvidou.

Editor’s comment

In last week’s interview “Cyprus Minister confident about Title Deeds changes”, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis assured Charles Charalambous that “In Cyprus it is no simple step for a bank to liquidate a property [in order to recover a debt]. That has never happened here.

The experiences of Doxoulla Michael and the other unfortunate women in a similar situation cast serious doubts on the Interior Minister’s assertion.

Many Cyprus property buyers have been deceived into buying property built on land that their developer has mortgaged. The banks involved in this conspiracy have effectively made those buyers the ultimate guarantors for the developers’ mortgages without their knowledge or consent.

If the banks continue their current practice of taking the easy route to recover unpaid debts, those who have been deceived into buying property built on mortgaged land could find the banks attempting to auction their homes, like the unfortunate Ms Michael.

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