Calm in Cypriot queues

Patient Cypriots formed orderly queues and waited in the sun for their banks to reopen after nearly two cash-starved weeks, but many expressed anger at the island's European partners.

Patient Cypriots formed orderly queues and waited in the sun for their banks to reopen after nearly two cash-starved weeks, but many expressed anger at the island's European partners.

Despite fears of a bank run that led the island to impose harsh capital controls, some Cypriots were even depositing money instead of withdrawing it following the closure of the banks on March 16.

The calm prevailed even when some branches opened 20 minutes late, in several cases with packs of foreign journalists outnumbering the Cypriots themselves.

Dozens of people queued outside the banks in Nicosia for about an hour before the opening time, which was finally announced late on Wednesday after repeated delays.

Banks posted armed guards outside many branches, while tellers, who unlike in other European countries are not housed behind glass security, urged customers not to vent their frustrations on them.

Guards handed out Greek-language copies of a decree issued by Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, which imposes limits on how much capital customers can touch, including a daily €300 ($360) limit.

Customers face severe restrictions on withdrawals to prevent a run on the banks that could wreak havoc on the fragile economy.

The calm after the storm defied sombre predictions of one Cypriot queuing outside a branch of Laiki, or Popular bank, which will be wound up as part of the bailout deal Cyprus negotiated with its creditors.

But others said there was no point in queuing when the amounts involved were so small.

InvestSMART FORUM: Come and meet the team

We're loading up the van and going on tour from April to June, with events on the NSW central & north coast, the QLD mid-north coast and in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Come and meet the team and take home simple strategies that you can use to build an investment portfolio to weather any storm. Book your spot here.

Want access to our latest research and new buy ideas?

Start a free 15 day trial and gain access to our research, recommendations and market-beating model portfolios.

Sign up for free

Related Articles