The change in the Bank of Cyprus’ leadership will not affect the momentum in addressing the remaining challenges, as the strategy implemented is the appropriate and bears fruit, the bank’s outgoing Board Chairman and outgoing CEO has said.
Addressing the Bank of Cyprus' annual general meeting both Joseph Ackermann and John Patrick Hourican praised the bank’s new CEO, Panicos Nicolaou and the new Board 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 facing the Bank,” Ackerman said.
Looking back at the time when he took up his position with the Bank of Cyprus, the island's largest lender, in November 2014, Ackerman recalled the “deep wounds and dislocations from the dramatic events of March 2013” both for the bank and the Cypriot economy, “we had a Dream both about the Bank and about Cyprus,” implementing a three-pillar strategy, focusing on the bank’s activities, repairing the bank and building the bank.
“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 have exceeded our initial expectations,” he said.
On his part, Hourican said “the bank has made good, if at times, painful progress in its recovery over the past 5 years,”, noting 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 9 billion compared to 2013, while non-performing loans declined by €10 billion since the peak of 2014, while carrying €4 billion 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,” he said, noting 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.