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Cyprus banks awash with properties

Banks in Cyprus have acquired more than 14,000 properties from households and businesses through foreclosures and debt-to-assets swaps according to a report in the Phileleftheros.

Cyprus banks awash with properties BANKS IN CYPRUS have acquired over 14,000 properties comprising commercial, residential, tourist, small apartments, small shops, farmland and building plots from businesses and households through foreclosures and debt-to-asset swaps according to a report in Phileleftheros.

The number represents around 40% of the total number of properties sold in the past five years, based on the number of contracts deposited at Land Registry offices.

The Bank of Cyprus has the largest portfolio of properties of all types, with its Real Estate Management Unit (REMU) reported as having 3,008 properties of small and high value, of all types of real estate.

In addition to properties acquired through debt-to asset swaps, the bank has sold more than 14,000 loans secured by real estate collateral to Apollo Global Management. According to Phileleftheros these involve 9,065 properties.

In further efforts to further reduce its NPLs, the Bank of Cyprus is reported to be preparing a project codenamed ‘Helix 2’. This project is to include loans with a book value of more than €2 billion, including the bank’s most problematic loans. If successful this project should enable the bank to reduce its percentage of non-performing loans to less than 10% of the total.

The bank is also reported to be in the process of foreclosing on hundreds of further properties.

The Phileftheros report also noted that between January and August 2018, Altamira acquired 1,389 properties with a total value of €185 million and that the Hellenic Bank has around 650 properties up for auction.

APS, which took over the Hellenic Bank’s toxic loans in 2017 and to which the Bank of Cyprus sold a portfolio of non-performing loans codenamed ‘Velocity’ currently has 814 Cyprus properties for sale on its website.

Readers' comments

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  • Alan Burke says:

    So. The B of C now owns thousands of small properties many of which are small flats. Limassol has a desperate shortage of reasonable rent living accommodations.

    Surely it should be possible for a body to be set up to organise the letting of these properties at reasonable rents with an option to buy at a later stage, thus easing the housing shortage for low paid workers and providing the bank with some return on their unwanted real estate burden.

    Ed: Although it would make sense to let repossessed properties at affordable rents, I doubt the banks would agree as would not help them to reduce their non-performing loans.

  • LT says:

    If they acquired 14,000 properties, it means that the sale of properties did not rise. they are still keeping the market up artificially by selling passports so the properties they have are “valuable” on the paper only when they pass to another huge buyer.

    It was all banks grabbing the properties from people they have lured into signing CHF loans and then increasing interest rates and adding higher penalties than they were in the contracts. all to make sure the borrower financially ceases.

    There is no much healthy increase in sale or price!

    What happened to that interim judgement on CHF loans. Are Cyprus courts finally going to step in or they are still playing cowardly procrastinating game so many years after all other European countries cleaned up their act.

    Ed: As far as I am aware cases of the alleged mis-selling of CHF loans have yet to be heard in Cyprus. Many people with CHF loans have agreed settlements with the banks.

  • Deanna says:

    @Alan Waring; my thoughts also. And I’m thinking that it was NPLs that caused to crisis in 2013?

    Ed: The main culprit was the Communist government who failed to lift a finger to to stop the economic collapse. It went running to Russia for money to keep the economy afloat until the election, which it lost, leaving Anastasiades in the do do. There’s a video of Catastrophias blaming the economic collapse on capitalist system!!

  • Alan Waring says:

    When the music stops, who will be left holding the parcel? It might well be the banks. The very introduction of the term helix (as in Helix 2) suggests that they imagine that somehow mirror-image double-bluff chicanery is going to turn mass toxic debt into something safe, wonderful and attractive.

    Helix 2? More like Cyprus Financial Crash 2013 Mark 2.

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