Archbishop Chrysostomos II is confident that the Church will remain a main shareholder of Hellenic Bank despite lacking the funds to participate in a new capital issue.
Everyone involved in Hellenic will work methodically and on schedule, and through the recapitalisation process the Church will maintain its percentage despite some hoping for the contrary, the Archbishop said.
The church has a 30% stake in the island’s second largest lender which is undergoing a €290 million restructuring plan.
The Archbishop stressed that the most important thing is for both Hellenic and Bank of Cyprus – the island’s largest lender - ‘to work for liberation from the slavery of the Troika’.
He added that the post-bailout damage caused is extensive as Hellenic and BoC have been unable to function for the past five months due to capital controls.
Moreover, the Church also lost millions via the Troika imposed haircut on uninsured deposits.
“The Church will work so that the banking system of Cyprus can re-discover itself and serve the people,” said Chrysostomos.
“We are going through difficult times and the Church does not have the money needed, but the recapitalisation can be achieved in many ways and I am sure that we will succeed, in spite of all those who believe that everything will be levelled and the people will go hungry.”
Commenting on the possibility of the Church walking away from the risky business of banking the Archbishop said:
“The Church is not only thinking of itself, it is thinking of the people. The country’s economy cannot operate without the banks. How can investments take place without banks, and Cypriot banks at that? We have lived through 1974, when all the foreign banks were indifferent.”
Commenting on BoC coming out of resolution, the Archbishop said that “everyone must help to get Bank of Cyprus back on its feet quickly, so that it doesn’t need the state’s support”.