BoC to introduce new fees and commissions to divert business online

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By Stelios Orphanides

Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, has decided to change its fees and commissions for services for the first time since 2010 in an attempt to divert more business from traditional banking to online banking.

The new fees and commissions which will become effective on October 17, are included in a 16-page catalogue sent to the bank’s customers earlier this month. “We will consider that you have accepted the revised catalogue unless you notify the bank before it becomes effective and notify the bank that you wish to terminate your accounts without any extra charge if your accounts are covered by the Law on Payment Services (Current Accounts, Saving Accounts, Cards and Alerts),” Bank of Cyprus told its customers in an accompanying letter.

“We remind you that you can reduce your transaction costs by using alternative service channels”.

The decision of the bank, which pursues a listing at the London Stock Exchange and reduced its staff levels by 350 in the first half of the year from over 4,300 in December 2015 via a repeatedly revised voluntary retirement scheme, will not affect the interest rates, a source said on condition of anonymity.

Considerations related to the bank’s environmental footprint, transparency, changing technology and need to reduce costs for smaller enterprises were behind the decision to change charges covering the entire range of the bank’s services, he said.

“The increases, which are isolated, mainly refer to two categories of services,” the source continued. “Firstly, those that do not appeal to customers with small balances or volume of business, and secondly, those who can be served electronically through newly available service channels. Through these channels, service is cheaper or free, more transparent, faster and more environmentally friendly, while offering more control to the customer”.

The source said that Bank of Cyprus customers should expect “no significant increase” in transacting with the bank. “For example, if you have a current account with an overdraft limit of €8,000 you will be additionally charged about 30 cents per month,” he said adding that the quarterly saving for a client with a €2,000 limit will amount to €1.

A comparison of the current list of fees and commissions with the one that becomes effective in less than two months shows that Bank of Cyprus will customers €3 every quarter if with their current account (overdraft) limit is up to €3,000, €5 per quarter in the case of accounts with a limit of up to €10,000 and €35 per quarter for limits up to €100,000. Currently, Bank of Cyprus customers pay €4 every three months for limits up to €10,000 and €30 for limits up to €100,000.

Customers with limits of up to €1m will be charged from October 17 onwards €200 and those with limits over €1m will be charged €500 every quarter compared to currently €130 and €250 respectively.

Bank of Cyprus will also charge its customers €15 for the issue of a cheque book or €5 more. Orders to stop cheque payments will cost €10 per cheque and €25 per order instead of €8 and €20 respectively, while the service will be free of charge for users of the Bank of Cyprus’s “1bank” online and mobile phone banking service. In addition, the bank will charge 0.2 per cent or at least €5 for the redemption of cheques issued by customers of other commercial banks.

The Bank of Cyprus source said that the changes are likely to affect customers serviced at its International Business Units.

“This is primarily due to the increased costs of servicing the specific customers” caused by anti-money laundering controls, security of transactions, extensive service hours and employment of multilingual staffers to address the needs of Russian and Chinese speakers, he said. “We have invested in in infrastructure and in new procedures in order to provide a high level of service to our customers who are primarily non-Cyprus residents doing business abroad”.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Neroli

    Shows what the post is like Iv e only just received mine today it’s taken about three weeks to come from Nicosia!!

    • Peter Shaw

      I have received nothing. This article is the first I’ve heard of any changes.

      • Neroli

        And I until opening the envelope this morning. Maybe you live further away give it another week!! Time for the the Postal Non-service to be privatised!

        • Pc

          Time to stop waisting paper and send e-mail instead 🙂

          • Neroli

            I do, but tell that to the banks!! ?

        • disqus_ZPlOdQqScB

          Got mine but only in Greek!!

          • Neroli

            At least you got one! Maybe they have translated copy in yr local branch!

          • Gabriel Sarbului

            This is a Greek speaking country. Learn Greek.

          • Slomi

            when you take money from a foreigner, you are obliged to give him the service in his language.

          • Gabriel Sarbului

            Usually, you take money to the bank, they don’t come to your house and take it.

          • Slomi

            Whatit is called in language of economic?

          • Gabriel Sarbului

            Sorry I don’t understand what you have written, please try English.

          • cynical

            Not very friendly! BoC don’t require you to speak or understand Greek when you open an account with them. Last para of the article states
            “We have invested in in infrastructure and in new procedures in order to provide a high level of service to our customers who are primarily non-Cyprus residents doing business abroad”.

          • Gabriel Sarbului

            How many bank tellers do you know that speak Greek in the UK, or Polish, or any other language?

      • Neroli

        Do they normally church for standing orders and direct debits, never noticed it before! All this is to make up for the NPLs

      • cynical

        glad I’m not the only BoC customer who hasn’t had the booklet yet!

  • Douglas Murphy

    Perhaps it’s time to change to a more friendly customer orientated Bank ?

    • Bystander

      Anything on the horizon?

      • Douglas Murphy

        I heared on the grapevine ‘Laiki’ is coming back 🙂

        • Neroli

          That’s so funny!

        • Bystander

          You must be joking! Or, does it come with Mr. Vgen at the helm?

    • Neroli

      I was with Emporiki then it was swallowed up by Alpha, I changed from there cos of the problems in Greece! Are there any??

      • Douglas Murphy

        Not sure but would be nice to know .

    • Mike

      I did in late 2012.

  • Slomi

    Very exorbitant rates and fees/commissions. To the extent of unfair.

  • JSReturnsAgain

    Goodbye BoC, who’s next ?

    • Slomi

      BOC has broken my heart many times since 2013:(
      My problem is that in Cyprus, my banking choices are much limited.

      • JSReturnsAgain

        Understand your problem. I keep as much money outside Cyprus as possible, use a credit card wherever possible (never pay interest and collect the airmiles) and restrict my exposure to Cyprus banks as much as possible.

        • Slomi

          JS,I learnt late.

          Now,I keep my salary outside the country and bring only what I need for my simple living. But that assets which I lost are a scar on my heart. I had wished a somewhat relaxed life while I landed here by having some medium level business here and to have a consultancy services with my parent organization and continue travelling ,but at my own choice. My all dreams were evaporated . Here business is impossible in this situation and bank assets are not safe even if these are genuine. I am still at the disposal of my parent organization and frequently on deputations, which originally was not in my plan in 2013. My life is changed .My plans are changed. I earn very good though but I am turned in my forties now and I had my some plans. I am with many scars my friend.

  • Eye on Cyprus

    Customer Service – Cyprus-style.