Co-op Bank says NPLS plunge by €806m in 2017 (Update-1)


(Updates with executive’s comments in seventh paragraph)

By Stelios Orphanides

The state-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank has said that its delinquent loan portfolio dropped last year by €806m to €6.4bn at the end of 2017 compared to a year before, a decrease of 16 per cent.

The drop in the co-ops’ non-performing loans, which peaked at €7.7bn at the end of 2015, occurred in the second half of 2017 “amid the largest ever merger ever undertaken in Cyprus, overshooting initial supervisory targets,” the lender said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, two days after its partnership with Spain’s Altamira came in effect.

The Cyprus Cooperative Bank, owned more than 99 per cent by the government after the latter recapitalised the lender with almost €1.7bn in 2014 and 2015, outsourced the management of its delinquent loan portfolio, which accounted for 58.8 per cent of its total loans in September, to Altamira Asset Management Cyprus Ltd, a joint venture set up with the Spanish distressed asset recovery specialist.

The cooperation with Altamira aims at the comprehensive resolution of the bank’s delinquent loans issue as part of its ‘Agenda 2022’ –i.e. the co-op’s a complete transformation to a competitive bank–, which will no longer have to rely on non-performing loans to generate revenue, Cyprus’s second largest lender said.

The co-op is currently working on its listing at the Cyprus Stock Exchange as part of its plan to reduce the government’s shareholding to below 25 per cent with successive capital increases after it exhausted all margins for state aid. The first round of capital increase is scheduled for this summer and the bank aims at raising up to €300m in fresh capital.

While working on dealing with its bad loans legacy, the bank continues to work on its future plans which include “a full spectrum of bank services to its customers,” utilising its liquidity exceeding €3bn and its core equity tier 1 capital ratio which exceeds 15 per cent, the bank said.

Yiannos Stavrinides, the head of strategy and communication of the bank, said that the bank is expecting to enter more concrete negotiations with strategic and institutional investors after it posts its full year results, most likely in March. The results together with “a picture about Altamira’s performance,” in the first months of the year will allow the bank to offer more comprehensive information about the bank’s prospects ahead of the capital increase.

The co-op is looking forward to find out more about the price level at which non-performing loans are sold to third parties, Stavrinides said in a telephone interview, a day after Hellenic Bank announced an agreement to sell €145m in non-performing and terminated loans to Norway’s B2Holdings ASA for an undisclosed consideration.

The bank’s chief executive officer Nicholas Hadjiyiannis said on December 19, that the bank was considering also selling loans.



About Author

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

  • Jeremy Rigg

    It needs to do a lot more “plunging” yet. They will go after the easy ones first, not the MPs and lawyers.

    • Cydee

      Exactly. Long, long way to go yet…

  • Barry White

    Surely this means that the friends and families plus guarantors are € 806 million richer with their loans written off, not that they ever intended to pay. Thank goodness the taxpayers picked up the bill for the cancelled loans !!!!

    • SuzieQ

      Being a dumb blonde, I can’t work out how many millions are represented by 6.4 billion still to recoup–help, please.

      • Barry White

        First of all, I hope that the New Year arrived peacefully for you and family Ms. Q. May 2018 bring you all that you wish for.

        Second, Barry is not joining the naughty step and corner so early in the year, so of course you are NOT a dumb blond, Ms Q.

        Barry is writing to the Central Bank Governor and to the Board of the Coop, copying Harris and the Prez with a brilliant suggestion that occurred to him on New Year`s Eve – in vino veritas !!!!!!

        The NPL problem at the Coop can be fully solved at a stroke of a pen, rather many pen strokes in a letter to all the holders of the €6.4 billion in NPL`s.

        The Coop simply informs all NPL holders that their Loans are hereby cancelled as fully paid – all € 6.4 billion worth. NPL`s are gone.

        Friends and Families are overjoyed with another €6.4 billion in new wealth added to their N. London assets. The Prez looks like a star with all the fawning ex NPL`ers and expecting their votes.. There will be no more messy accounting at the Coop for NPL`s and the Central Bank ditto.

        After the election, the Prez can deal with the taxpayer and deposit holders again for their contribution to this brilliant scheme.

        It is not only brilliant, it is Cyproooos !!!!!!

        • SuzieQ


  • Sergey Krasilnikov

    Stolen, i presume, in recent assaults. What a luck.

  • Bilbo Bawbag

    806 million initially sounds impressive until you read on and see that the total NPL still amount to 6.4 BILLION (6400 Millions!)