FINANCE Leadership change will not distract Bank of Cyprus from getting job done

Key changes in the Bank of Cyprus leadership will not affect momentum in addressing the remaining challenges for reform as the strategy implemented is bearing fruit, said outgoing chairman Joseph Ackermann.

Addressing the Bank of Cyprus AGM both Ackermann and outgoing CEO John Patrick Hourican praised their Cypriot replacements CEO Panicos Nicolaou and new chairman Takis Arapoglou.

I would like to reassure all shareholders and the Bank staff that the change in the Bank’s leadership that is under way will not disrupt the momentum of the ongoing reforms to effectively address the remaining and the new challenges, Ackerman said.

Looking back at when he took up his position with the island’s largest lender, in November 2014, Ackerman recalled the deep wounds and dislocations from the dramatic events of March 2013 bailout crisis and subsequent haircut on deposits.

We had a Dream both about the Bank and about Cyprusimplementing a three-pillar strategy, focusing on the bank’s activities, repairing the bank and building the bank, said Ackerman.

Four and half years later, I am pleased and proud to report that, while we still have plenty of work to do, the results from the implementation of the strategy have been impressive and exceeded our initial expectations, he added.

Hourican said: The bank has made good, if at times, painful progress in its recovery over the past 5 years.

He said the bank has much improved asset quality, stronger capital, stronger liquidity, less branches, better technology and a clear focus on completing the job.

He added that the bank’s balance sheet has shrunk by Euros 9 bln compared to 2013, while non-performing loans declined by Euros 10 bln since the peak of 2014, while carrying Euros 4 bln in excess liquidity.

We remain committed to finish our balance sheet de-risking and refocus the business on supporting the growing Cypriot economy. Whilst there remains more to do in rebuilding the value and financial position of this institution, I am confident that we have the right building blocks in place to eventually achieve our goals, Hourican said,

He said a key objective over the coming quarters will be to further develop a more efficient business model with a focus on sustaining revenues while at the same time significantly reducing costs and better managing labour relations.

Source: The Financial Mirror