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Thursday 9th July 2020
Home Legal Matters Bank of Cyprus fined €170,000

Bank of Cyprus fined €170,000

Bank of CyprusTHE BANK OF CYPRUS has been hit with an administrative fine of €170,000 by the Cyprus Consumer and Protection Service (CCPS) for using vague terms that allowed it to unilaterally amend interest rates and other charges.

In its 22 page ruling the service said the bank used vague contractual terms that allowed it to unilaterally amend interest rates and other charges burdening the consumer and providing vague and inadequate information regarding the terms and cost of prepaying a loan.

The Bank of Cyprus (BoC) also linked the loan agreement with an insurance agreement, making the loan dependent on the payment of an insurance premium using vague terms, the service said.

It also unilaterally changed the loan repayment period without affording the right to revert to the previous state of affairs.

The consumer service fined BoC €170,000 and ordered the bank to cease enforcing the practices in question and avoid repeating them in the future.

Further reading

CCPS Decision no. 2017/07 (CA) Bank of Cyprus Public Company Ltd (Greek)

CCPS Letter to Complainant (English)

10 COMMENTS

  1. Editor,

    do you have any guidance you can share on how to raise a complaint with the CCPS? I agree, everyone impacted by unfair/unjustified interest rate rises should complain.

    Ed: You can submit your complaint to the CCPS online – See File a Complaint Introduction. Alternatively you can write to the CCPS at:

    Competition and Consumer Protection Service
    Ministry of Energy, Commerce Industry and Tourism
    1421 Lefkosia (Nicosia), Cyprus

    You may find the sample templates on the Cyprus Property Action Group’s website useful in formulating your complaint.

  2. I disagree with the comments that this decision simply results in a “very small fine” for the bank and that consumers will receive no benefit.

    I am the complainant in this case. This is the second decision issued against BoC by the Director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Service following my complaint. The first decision concerned violations of legislation/EU directives relating to unfair terms in contracts whereas the latest decision deals with unfair commercial practices.

    The Cyprus Mail “summary” does not explain the ruling nor the consequences for consumers.

    In my opinion this latest decision is likely to have serious and far reaching consequences as to how banks treat customers. It is also the first case, I believe, that an order was issued by the Director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Service in Cyprus (at least against a bank).

  3. Kal, we had the same issue with Alpha Bank with our insurance, what they are asking is incorrect. We went to Topquotes in Cyprus who shopped around for the policy we wanted and they dealt with the bank to get its approval.
    Halved our premiums.

  4. I think it’s good news that the banks are being penalised and the corrupt system is being exposed but are the consumers who were charged more going to get any compensation? Yes the banks will be penalised and lose some profits but then this money just goes to the government! What about consumers!?

  5. And I’ve just had a €5 deduction this month. BoC have now decided as from 2017 to charge its customers for their bank cards. So the cost of this fine will soon be recovered.

    When Banks record profits and fines indirectly or directly its their customers who have paid.

  6. It is a tiny, wrist-tap fine compared to all the money I imagine the banks made from their egregious practices, but – it’s at least a bargaining chip that could help in court proceedings (as has rightly been stated).

    Pressure needs to be kept up as without that – they will – 100% guaranteed – drift back to their default position of treating every just about every client (I speak to or have ever spoken to) as though they are a ‘mark’.

  7. BOC are just crooks but what can you do?

    Overnight they increased our mortgage contract margin from 1.75% to 3.75%. Their theory, like others in Cyprus, is we are not doing well as a result of lots of defaulters, so we will charge double to those that will honour their payments.

    To round things off we were told to change our insurances from a reliable UK company to a Cypriot one whose terms and cover were less favourable. All of which SHOULD be illegal! Not everything is good in a “Banana Republic”.

    Ed: Have you complained to the CCPS about the margin increases? The more people that complain will put more pressure of the Bank – and on the courts if people decide to take their complaints to the next stage.

  8. What a pathetic attempt to make it look like a punishment. Alpha Bank in Paphos have doing the exact same thing for a long time with hundreds of complaints against them.

    This should be classed as full scale fraud and the people at the top of Alpha Bank should be in court and imprisoned for the misery and mental pain they have inflicted on unsuspecting people. The level of corruption and lack of justice seems incredible on this once loved and trusted island. Hopefully a president will soon be set (don’t hold your breath with the slow way in which the courts act over in Cyprus) and and the flood gates will open against these banks, rogue Greek lawyers, and corrupt certifying officers around the Paphos area.

    Internet searches on “is buying safe in Cyprus” is increasing and many sites are now saying”No”! Property selling days like “A home in the sun” are being looked at being targeted again in an attempt to put off many hundreds of people from buying in this once trusted place.

    Ed: Alpha Bank Cyprus received a €250,000 administrative fine last October for its business practices relating to mortgage contracts. I understand that the first cases against the bank relating to the alleged mis-selling of Swiss Franc loans are scheduled to be heard in November.

  9. This seems a very small fine as their proceeds from this crooked behaviour must far out weigh the cost of the penalty, disgraceful. Also I wonder how much the enquiry cost the State to produce! The fine seems a bit pathetic any way you choose to view the matter.

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