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Non-performing loans at 49 per cent

Non-performing loans (NPLs) in the Cypriot financial system stood at 49% of total loans at the end of October 2014, from 48.5% in the previous month, according to data released by the Central Bank of Cyprus.

Cyprus Non-performing loans at 49 per centNON-PERFORMING loans (NPLs) in Cyprus’s banking system continued to rise in October to 28.2 billion euros or almost 49 per cent of total loans the Central Bank of Cyprus said.

A month earlier, the NPL ratio was 48.5 per cent while in October last year it was 38.5 per cent the central bank said in a statement on its website. The respective amounts in all banks and cooperatives operating in Cyprus were 28.1 billion euros and 24.6 billion euros.

In October, banks saw the percentage of unserviced debts extended to companies at 50.7 per cent and that to individuals at 51.4 per cent, the statement said. The respective amounts were 15.8 billion euros and 12.4 billion euros.

Three quarters of loans to construction companies are non-performing

Three out of four outstanding loans extended to construction companies or 5.7 billion euros were in October non-performing and making out more than one third of company NPLs, the central bank said. NPLs to retail and whole sale companies as well to real estate companies which together made out less than one third of overall unserviced loans, stood at 2.4 billion euros and 2.3 billion euros with a non-performing ratio of 46.6 per cent and 56.4 per cent respectively, the central bank said.

45% of loans to individuals for buying/building property are non-performing

Nearly 45 per cent of loans extended to individuals by banks and cooperatives for the construction or purchase of immovable properties was non-performing in October and stood at almost 6.5 billion euros or more than half of overall non-performing credit to individuals, the central bank said. The non-performing ratio in the case of consumer loans was 61.3 per cent and with 4.4 billion euros made out more than one third of the overall non-performing debt of individuals.

Further reading

Non-performing loans October 2014 (Cyprus Central Bank)

Readers' comments

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  • @Mike on 2015/01/06 at 11:03 am – I have heard similar rumours about money taken out of companies in Cyprus to buy real estate in London.

  • Mike says:

    I have heard rumours through some fairly well connected people in Cyprus that some borrowers managed to transfer a portion of loan funds abroad to buy London property. Some even sold London property and bought gold and stashed it offshore.

    Anyone know if this could be true?

  • GermanSixth says:

    Cyprus could and should(!) enact a law which declares mortgages on sold property as “non-standard” (an euphemism for illicit, but…) and enforces the mortgagor to report that to his bank in a given timeframe (e.g. 6 months). Within the same law, the bank should be enforced to report the case to the resp. Land Registry office. Exemptions could be made if the mortgagor immediately starts renegotiations with the bank to exchange the needed security. In this case, the time frame could be extended (e.g 1 year).

    Of course, illicit mortgages cannot be bundled into mortgage-backed securities (MBS) or asset-backed securities (ABS) and should be handled separately. However, I fear that the ECB/Troika doesn’t want to make such distinctions and rather would collude with the local banks.

  • MartynG says:

    Thank you Nigel for reminding us about the 2008 Report, pointing us back to it, and how the matters covered, including Michael Sarris’ contributions, were conveniently shelved by the incoming Christofias government. Here we are now almost SEVEN YEARS later with almost nothing fundamentally changed, still debating the same or very similar issues but with the country hovering above the ‘basket case’ territory, with the, now, Opposition waving the proverbial ‘two fingers’ at the IMF/Troika.

    Great way to enter the ‘New Year’ eh? – and with Greece now heading for an early General Election and possible EZ shockwaves flowing from the outcomes of that, we don’t need too much analysis/imagination to start thinking about how things might look very different as early as February 2015. Greek radical change of government? opt out or get kicked out of Euro? default on loans and repayments?. Cyprus maybe follow? Looking at International stock markets as we move to a close of 2015, quite a lot of people are now thinking what the world will look like IMF and when the ill-conceived Euro project finally collapses.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @GermanSixth. Yes, but what you overlook are the DNA links. There is strong evidence that one Carlo Ponzi, the great Italian US-resident and con-man, had a branch to his family in Cyprus as evident in the various dynasties with interests in banking, property development, legal, judicial and government sectors:

    Andreas Ponzopoulos
    Costas Ponzitis
    Stavros Hadjiponzopoulos
    Miltos Mavroponzi
    Ponzo Ponzopoulos

    How else could such inconceivable trickery, to use your phrase, be explained?

  • GermanSixth says:

    The elephant in the room is/are the balance sheets of the banks. The Cypriot banks are not deep under water, they are on the bottom of the sea.

    A mortgage contract is a contract, where the mortgagor is the owner of the security (and the mortagee requires that the mortgagor is the owner). If the mortgagor sells the property rsp. security, the mortgagee (if he knows it) immediately would request another, “new” security from the mortgagor/debtor. In other countries, the purchaser can (and will) claim that the mortgage note has to be removed from the book kept at the Land Registry.

    The curious thing is that the tricks used by banks and developers in Cyprus (for creating money/debt out of thin air) are not forbidden explicitly in other countries. Instead, these tricks are simply inconceivable.

    Of course, the tricks are unsustainable. They lead to insolvency q.e.d.

  • @Peter Davis on 2014/12/30 at 8:29 am – I have heard of similar cases, including one from a regular commenter here – see Bar Association fines lawyer for misconduct.

    Changes to the law in 2011 require the vendor to deposit a buyer’s contract of sale at the Land Registry before he encumbers that property with (for example) a mortgage. Failure to comply constitutes a criminal offence punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine of up to €5,000.

    In the UK, a search at the Land Registry results in a temporary encumbrance (28 days I believe) allowing time for the contract to be signed and recorded (assuming the purchaser wishes to proceed). I believe the purchaser’s lawyer can extend this period.

    Backdating a mortgage would require collusion between the bank, the Land Registry and the developer.

  • Peter Davis says:

    Nigel,

    I have heard of an instance where the buyer has bought property which has no mortgage against the land at the time of sale.

    But, before the sale has been lodged at the Land Registry by the buyer’s solicitor (which could be days or weeks) the builder/developer has gone immediately to the bank and taken out a loan against the land. This would ensure his mortgage had first claim.

    In which case Due Diligence by the buyer will not matter.

    There was even an indication that the buyer’s solicitor had delayed the visit to the Land Registry so the developer could do this. But that would amount to collusion.

    Further there is an instance where one developer’s mortgage was backdated to a date before the posting of the Sales Contract at the Land Registry, to ensure that the developer’s mortgage had first claim.

    I’m sure these stories, widely spread are not true and no more than fiction. No one would be so dishonest in Cyprus.

  • @GermanSixth on 2014/12/29 at 7:10 pm – I wasn’t suggesting it could be solved with some minor changes at the Land Registry.

    Cyprus has to re-engineer the processes involved in issuing Title Deeds so that they are available for transfer on delivery of a property to its purchaser. It isn’t rocket science – it just needs a will to change.

    To see what I mean refer to Business process reengineering.

    Business Process Reengineering involves the radical redesign of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity, cycle times and quality. In Business Process Reengineering, companies start with a blank sheet of paper and rethink existing processes to deliver more value to the customer. They typically adopt a new value system that places increased emphasis on customer needs. Companies reduce organizational layers and eliminate unproductive activities in two key areas. First, they redesign functional organizations into cross-functional teams. Second, they use technology to improve data dissemination and decision making.

    What Cyprus has been trying to do is make improvements to an existing set of processes that are not fit for purpose.

  • GermanSixth says:

    I am in doubt that the collateral given by unsold properties will cover the amount of NPLs aka “Bad Loans” . If the Land Registry sorts out the illicit mortgages (mortgages on sold land/property) , so letting the “innocent” buyers go, then the banks will still have to deal with unwilling debtors, which refuse to pay interest and amortization. It is wax easier to ask the (British) expat and to recommend him: “Please give us some money”, then you can stay in your house”. Otherwise, if the banks are enforced so sell the (uncompleted) remaining properties in foreclosure, they will not get the money (back) what they asked for.

    Nigel’s and UBoat’s positions are a little bit contra. I think the problem in Cyprus is systemic (with regard to both banks and developers), even toxic. It can’t be solved with some minor changes in the Land Registry.

  • @UBoat on 2014/12/29 at 1:39 pm – It doesn’t matter how many properties have been sold on the development, a mortgage will only apply to those that have not been sold.

    If 19 of the 20 were sold prior to the mortgage, when their deeds are issued they will not be encumbered by the mortgage. The 20th one will bear the whole of the mortgage as an encumbrance.

    It is now possible, in some cases, to get the deeds for properties that have been completed on a development regardless of whether the development has been completed. The law changed in 2011 to facilitate this.

  • Stuart says:

    Once again Nigel comes up with a further common-sense solution (see his previous comment at 12:56 on 28 December) but until all those who share the common prospect of losing their property to the banks join together to force the banks to move developer mortgages onto unsold properties, thereby releasing purchased properties for transfer to their buyers, and then force the land authorities to ensure Title Deeds are available for transfer on delivery of these properties to their buyers, the perpetual adventures in missing the point will only continue.

    Nigel has already had one meeting with the Troika. As he is clearly well-informed and has considerable expertise in these matters, would it not be obvious for a petition to be set up, maybe on-line, for him to take to a further meeting at which the situation could be potentially moved forward by enlisting the help of the Troika in implementing these straightforward proposals? As he says, it isn’t rocket science is it!

  • UBoat says:

    @Nigel December 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks.

    So if now the developer sells a further 18 houses and that leaves one unsold. He then gets a bit short of funds and borrows on the land as he still holds the title as the last house is not sold.

    If I understand correctly the whole development of 20 houses now becomes encumbered with a loan that the developer has taken out? they may not be encumbered with the actual loan as it was taken after the sale of the other properties but the title for the sold 19 can not be transferred as the development is not complete (Excuse). But the developer can go to a bank and say I have these houses now built on this land and it was worth X1 at … Date. I built the 20 and sold 19 can I borrow against it as the value has now risen to X2 at today’s date. As he is using the title as collateral guarantee for the money X2. Now the value of the titled land has risen to the total sold value of the properties 1-19.(he should not be able to borrow against sold properties title deeds) Bank turns blind eye as they know they can recover the money now in two ways.

    The house’s 1-19 have been paid for in full. Now they can NOT receive their title as the developer has encumbered it with a loan. So he retains the title. and probably never sells the 20th house so the development is never complete. so no one gets their title.

    Re engineer Yes …. But what about all the Titles still in the system that are not being transferred due to an encumbrance? If houses have been paid for transfer them to the owners. Then they will become an asset not a liability.

  • @UBoat on 2014/12/29 at 12:37 pm – Saying “loopholes in the law to use the title to borrow money again on the same piece of land that has already been sold and paid for in full” is incorrect.

    Let’s say a developer has no mortgage on the land and he’s building 20 houses.

    He sells two and then takes out a mortgage on the land.

    That mortgage will only affect the 18 unsold houses.

    The two houses that were sold before the mortgage was taken out are unaffected.

    To help the market to recover, Cyprus has to re-engineer the processes involved in issuing Title Deeds so that they are available for transfer on delivery of a property to its purchaser. It isn’t rocket science – it just needs a will to change.

  • UBoat says:

    Are we not missing the point here. Housing loans/mortgages ?

    As I see it Many people including me have paid for our houses in full, be it at time of purchase or through a loan of some sort and this money has been paid to the developer IN FULL to cover the agreed purchase price of the property.

    At the time of sale it was no doubt said that Title deeds will be issued within a small given time. But alas The titles have most likely never been issued in many cases even though the developer has received FULL payment for the agreed sale price of the property.

    Many excuses are being found all the time so as to NOT issue these Title deeds to buyers who have paid in FULL.

    Also as the developers found loopholes in the law to use the title to borrow money again on the same piece of land that has already been sold and paid for in full, the excuses for not transferring the title has become even greater. if the title was or would have been transferred at the time of completion of the purchaser very soon there after. this mess would not be here right now.

    So it would seem to me the fault lies at the door of many. It is like the lie that perpetuates the lie to cover the lie in the first place and now no one really knows who started it. as all are lying.

    So why not just wipe the slate clean and say those who have the property paid for in full get the title immediately free from any encumbrance.

    Then any other money borrowed against the title just be transferred to a loan to the developer and his existing assets.

    I bet this will NEVER happen as this will lose the power to many developers to be able to continue borrowing. And that is obviously not acceptable in a corrupt money go round society like Cyprus. Every one needs to be able to have their piece of cake, if they have no more Title No more piece of cake.

    But you do have money now being generated through clean titles and hopefully the housing market will very slowly recover for us all.

    My point again is If you have paid in full it should be yours immediately.

  • Peter Davis says:

    Regarding the banks, yes if it’s 20% or above.

    I would have thought £140bn on British banks is somewhere at about 2-3%

    Bad Loan are part of doing business and if a company hasn’t got any bad loans then it to restrictive in its dealings.

    As a Credit Manager I was taught at Uni that this was the price of doing business, but 49% shows that someone isn’t doing their job

  • @Colin on 2014/12/29 at 11:36 am – Thanks for your comment. Regarding your suggestion of the establishment of a housing minister with offices in each district, something very similar was suggested in a report that CPAG prepared for the (then) Finance Minister Michalis Sarris:

    “The immediate establishment of an independent Property Complaints and Arbitration Agency to address the current problems faced by buyers.

    The establishment of such an Authority will demonstrate to potential property buyers that Government recognises there are problems and that it is eager to support current and future buyers in resolving them. It will also help to protect the image of the property industry and of Cyprus as a whole.”

    Within weeks of delivering the report in January 2008, Catastrofias became president, Sarris lost his job, and the report was buried.

    You can read the (almost) complete report at Cyprus Property Pitfalls: a time for action.

  • Colin says:

    It seems we are now reaching the end of the long winding road that the Cypriot government has decided to go down since the crisis around Europe became apparent. Unlike Ireland, Spain and Portugal Cyprus has continually rolled the debts and problems over continually transferring both the debts and the problems onto the next page of the balance sheet with no solution or explanation for the problems.

    The Troika has now removed the very large carpet and effectively taken away the very large brush that the Cypriot government has been using to sweep these problems under.

    Ignoring and not dealing with the cause and substance of the debts has caused stagnation and mistrust of the Cypriot economy and banking system. Reality is now beginning to sink in and there is an acceptance that there will have to be a lot of pain before there is a cure but there has to be a reality check before the islands economy can recover which would benefit all parties concerned. There is no benefit for anybody in thinking that things will go back to the way they were there has to be change. The old adage of follow the money would help.

    The developers are either cash rich or have unsold properties. People who have purchased a property in good faith with a mortgage from a Cypriot bank did so in good faith with no intention to defraud either the bank or the developer so if not legally then morally or ethically deserve to be appreciated as the entitled beneficiary of being issued with an unencumbered title deed when there is a loan lodged against the same property by the developer. If the developer has borrowed from the bank in order to build and then sell a property then once this has been achieved and the developer is in receipt of funds from the house buyers mortgage company then surely it should be the responsibility of the developer to settle his loan with the bank?

    Surely it would benefit The government to set up a specific housing minister with an office in each district with a troika adviser where ALL housing and loan matters could reviewed and a tribunal set up to adjudge how these matters proceed. I’m sure with a little cross referencing the names of certain developers and solicitors will begin to surface and the signatures of particular bank officials will also become prevalent thus exposing the circle of deceit.

  • Peter Davis on 2014/12/29 at 8:28 am – It was reported that German lenders were sitting on £153 billion non-performing loans, Spain had £142 billion and British lenders held £140 billion in 2012.

    Are all these insolvent?

    It’s the companies/individuals that are not repaying their loans that may be trading insolvent. But the insolvency framework is due soon which should clarify the matter and help the banks deal with the situation.

  • Peter Davis says:

    Thank Nigel.

    It’s also accepted that a company with “Bad Debts” of over 20% is trading insolvent, the result is the Limited protection is no longer viable, making the Directors personally responsible.

    I know Cyprus prefers the words “NPL” but in the real world they are call “Bad Debts”.

    SO are the BoC and Co-Op trading insolvent?

    Make a lot of difference to those who will lose the rest of their deposits.

  • @Peter Davis on 2014/12/28 at 8:54 pm – Cyprus has a Statute of Limitations law, but its implementation has been delayed until 31st December 2015.

    See Statute of Limitations Law.

  • Peter Davis says:

    My understanding is if the debt is over 6 years old and the creditor has not made a move to recover the monies owed they’re statute barred.

    Is Cyprus different from the rest of the World?

  • @Steve on 2014/12/28 at 3:09 pm – In the case of House/Home Loans in Cyprus, the developer acts as the purchaser’s guarantor. This enable the bank to have first call on the property should the borrower default.

  • Steve says:

    @ Nigel

    Regarding the purpose of mortgage loans versus general loans, the former are specific to the purchase of property and are secured by first call on the mortgaged property as security for the mortgage. Mortgages are generally at lower interest rates than other types of loan, because the risk is lower, so long as the property is adequately insured: often the lender will insist on arranging buildings insurance and collecting the premiums, for an administration fee, of course.

    A loan for building cannot be a mortgage because the property does not exist. A general loan can be secured against other assets, such as endowment policies, or can be unsecured, depending on size of loan, on other existing debts and amount of income. Similarly, a mortgage is not possible for maintenance of an already-owned property, such as a new roof.

    Historically, it was easy in the UK to borrow on the mortgage extra funds for paying off other existing debts paying higher interest rates and other costs -legal fees, transfer fees, stamp duty,removal costs, some new furniture and so on, by borrowing more than actually needed and using savings or some of the profits from a house sale for the extras rather than to reduce the amount of mortgage borrowing. I did it myself in the UK when borrowing less than 75% of the purchase price, however it is less likely these days because prices are so high that most buyers have to scrape together all they can just to meet the purchase price.

  • @scruffy on 2014/12/28 at 1:16 pm – A mortgage is a loan secured against a piece of real estate. If you buy ‘off-plan’ in Cyprus the real estate you are buying doesn’t exist and a mortgage cannot be sought as there is no collateral.

    A ‘House Loan’ or ‘Home Loan’ in Cyprus is equivalent to a ‘Construction Loan’ where the money advanced is used finance the construction of a property. (This type of loan is also offered in the UK and other countries to ‘self builders’).

    In Cyprus, when the Title Deed for the property is eventually issued and the purchaser pays the Property Transfer Fees, the House/Home Loan is converted to a mortgage and lodged against the title of the property purchased – and the Land Registry charges the purchaser 1% of the sum advanced under the loan.

  • Stuart says:

    Mike has merely outlined the legal position whereby banks can, if they so wish, foreclose against those who hold the property’s title deeds and, by default, are therefore the current legal owners until those deeds get transferred to the new buyers.

    Nigel makes the interesting and informed comment that around three times as many Cypriots are in the same dilemma as foreign buyers and that the value of unsold properties held by developers is much higher than their NPLs. Developers’ mortgages could thus be transferred to these unsold properties.

    That being the case, surely Nigel’s solution needs to be thoroughly explored as it makes perfect sense. What does not make sense is for banks to foreclose against home buyers who have paid in full but whose developers have failed to use the money to service their debts, because for banks to do so would render Cyprus a holiday and retirement pariah on a global scale.

  • scruffy says:

    @Nigel

    Re reading my comment I’m not sure why you think that I’m not aware that many Cypriots are victims. I am aware of this fact.

    Perhaps though you can clarify the difference between a mortgage and a house loan. I see this comparison cropping up often in various comments. All I can say is that the bank manager I dealt with referred to my loan as a mortgage but my loan agreement refers to “house loan” and does not have the word mortgage anywhere. Is this significant in any legal sense?

  • @Mike on 2014/12/28 at 12:45 pm – As I replied to someone else on another article, in most cases the total value of unsold properties held by developers is much higher than their NPLs.

    The banks could move all their mortgages, etc. onto these unsold properties thereby releasing properties that had been purchased so that they could be transferred to their buyers when their Title Deeds are (eventually) issued.

    The banks could then foreclose on the unsold properties to recover the money they are owed.

  • @Scruffy on 2014/12/28 at 12:03 pm – I can assure you that it is not only foreign buyers who have been deceived into buying property built on mortgaged land – about three times as many Cypriots are in the same predicament.

    You seem to assume it’s only foreigners who been cheated by the nefarious practices of the banks, developers and lawyers. This is not the case.

  • Mike says:

    Denton / Steve – Agree with much of what you say and I’m the first to say the system stinks however the fact remains that collateral was lodged against a loan and the Bank or lender will claim that collateral in the event of a default. Yes they should have applied due diligence, yes they should seek to recover from those companies who owe the money but I fear therein lies the problem. Developers it seems have offered collateral in the form of homes already paid for by the buyers. I suggest the lender will only be interested in recovering what they are owed – by any means. Unethical? Yes, Immoral? Yes, an unholy mess? Yes, Are the Banks, the Lawyers, the Agents and Developers involved complicit in systematic, Institutionalised Fraud? – Probably Yes but I still do not see the Banks writing off the debt just because someone has paid the developer in full. I believe that it will be seen as a matter between the individual, the developer and the courts. I hope I am wrong but I don’t trust the system enough to believe it will do what is right. I see a lot of suffering ahead unless the UCHR grows a pair and passes a positive judgement in favour of the victims. I will not be holding my breath.

  • @Steve on 2014/12/28 at 12:07 pm – a mortgage is just another form of loan. A Cypriot friend borrowed money to buy her home and the bank not only loaned her the money for the house, but money for her legal fees, property transfer fees and some furniture as well.

  • Steve says:

    Until the Christofias spending spree brought in the Troika to dictate how Cyprus financial institutions are run, Cyprus banks had always used the comparison of property value against loan outstanding to decide whether a loan was non-performing. Because most of the borrowing in question was loans and not mortgages, the issue of how the money would be spent was not comparable to questions UK lenders ask before granting mortgages.

    When the Troika insisted that loans be defined as non-performing if no payments had been made over a defined period of time -as it is defined in Europe and in the world generally- loans became non-performing overnight. In addition, the Troika insisted that the normal means of recovery of debt be employed, just as they would be in the UK, by way of repossession, forced eviction and sale of the assets.

    Instead of blaming the Cyprus banks, it would be pertinent to ask why the EU financial institutions did not make this change in definition of NPLs a requirement for Cyprus joining the EU in 2004. It suited the politicians, who are currently busy ruining Europe, to overlook such issues for “political considerations” Now, when the poor buyers who are about to lose their paid-for properties write to the EU and ask for help, the politicians are very subdued and respond with convoluted rubbish.

  • Scruffy says:

    @ Mike.

    It is a shame that you may be left to pick up the bill should debts be written off by the banks.

    I’m sure life would be much easier for you if those pesky buyers (like me) would just walk away. I mean who borrowed from a bank to pay for a house that the bank already knew was collateral for a previous developer loan but FAILED TO INFORM ME that this was the case.

    Do you think that they handed me the money in my hand to toddle along to the developer and may not have been aware that the house I was buying was already on their books as collateral? Or indeed that the developer was already in arrears with their loan.

    It is interesting you make the comment “as much as I appreciate the sentiment behind what you say”. That is the exact comment that my bank manager said on the subject. Followed by “Although it was perhaps immoral what we did, it was not illegal”

    You and your like epitomise the greed and lack of morality that has abounded in the financial world in recent years and that has resulted in the global financial crisis still prevailing.

    Shame on your lack of morality and your greed.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Mike. I can see what you mean about the banks having a duty to get loans serviced and recover debts and not to be primarily concerned about what the developer as borrower does with the loan or how unethically or illegally the developer may behave towards a buyer. However, it is not that simple.

    All banks should always apply due diligence in the selection/approval of all loan applicants. We know from all the official reports and commentary that they failed to do that on a mammoth scale for many years – hence their current self-created NPL predicament. The banks simply did not look into whether a developer applicant had any prior history of defaults, or even NPLs at other banks.

    Apart from the obvious creditworthiness, excessive gearing and total outstanding debt checks, it is normal (in the UK at least) for the purpose of a property loan to be clearly stated during application. Banks don’t take kindly to anyone asking for property-related loan or mortgage only to find later that money has been spent on other things.

    So, the banks were directly complicit in the NPL/title deeds debacle by failing to apply even the most basic of competent banking procedures. Further, it is evident from cases such as the Alpha Bank/Alpha Panareti NPL actions and the hundreds of law suits involving individual buyers that some banks went beyond mere incompetence. Some banks have sought to by-pass recovery from developers and their guarantors and pressure buyers who have already paid in full and have no relevant bank loans to pay off the developer’s debts or else kiss goodbye to ever getting their title deeds. While manifestly unethical, many would argue that such conduct, which involves coercion with a threat to deprive a person with permanent loss of an asset, constitutes fraud.

    The banks in Cyprus are not just dirty but downright filthy.

  • Steve R says:

    MIKE

    I think that as far as the homeowners are concerned I do think the banks do have a lot to do with the NPLs. If the banks had shown a bit of due diligence when lending this money a lot of the NPLs could have been avoided. In a lot of cases the same bank lent the home buyer the money to purchase the property and at the same time lent the money to the developer to develop the site. Top that with the bank lending the money in Swiss Francs to the purchaser without explaining the risk involved. Why do the banks now complain that people can not meet the mortgage repayments and the fact that they will never own the property unless they pay off all the developer debts including money owed to the revenue and VAT.

    The banks are in the business of lending money and should have covered their own back. Why do they now go after the purchaser and not the developer for the money. If the title deeds were issued it would give the purchaser some sort of chance to sell the property even if it was at a loss. In the case of our development the site was never visited at any stage by the bank, district office or planning departments. Would any of this have happened if the same business deal happened in the UK. I don’t think so

  • Mike says:

    Andrew 27 Dec @ 3:12pm – As much as I appreciate the sentiment behind what you say why should a Bank get involved in what their borrowers do with the money they lend. They can claim in addition to building houses, offices, bridges, roads, factories they may also claim to buy materials, pay wages, commissions, legal fees etc.

    Any commercial loan is just that and carries with it collateral used to protect the lender in the case of default. Reckless or unethical operating methods may be the case but the legal position regarding collateral held for loans issued may be sound.

    The argument a homebuyer has is with the developer for not issuing title to transfer the sale not the bank as far as the loan from it to the developer is concerned. I can’t see Banks writing off the debts although it is a very simple thing to do as there was no money there to start with until the debt was created and none will be there when the loan is paid off save for the interest received. To do otherwise will undermine the fabric upon which the global capitalist system is founded.

    I do agree it is one unholy mess however and again it is us at the bottom of the food chain who will be left to pick up the bill and suffer for the pleasure.

  • Andrew says:

    The banks lent money to construction companies with full knowledge that they would sell homes on to individual buyers. Why then did these banks not ensure they received payment for every home sold.

    Clearly the banks operated recklessly and unethically. All banks should write off loans where a buyer has paid a construction company in full and yet the same bank has failed to collect payment.

    No home buyer should ever lose their property if they have already paid a developer in full, either directly or via a mortgage which they continue to pay.

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