A representative of a Cypriot movement against property seizures on the island says members will take escalate protests across the island in retaliation over the Cooperative Central Bank’s (CCB) merger with Spain’s Altamira Asset Management SS on non-performing loans (NPLs).
Evgenia Moiseos, who is a representative of the ‘Movement Against Foreclosures’, told state radio on Wednesday that Altamira’s motives was not the welfare of the victims of NPLs but was only interested in generating profits and that the Co-op could have managed its own delinquent portfolio with a little more patience.
“We will assemble outside the CCB on Wednesday to demonstrate our concerns to demand answers for this venture,” said Moiseos.
“We want to know why this agreement was made with Altamira, we will demand a freezing of this agreement until they disclose the exact details of this merger and we will also demand from the state that they do whatever it takes to ensure that first homes are protected.”
Earlier this month, the state-owned Co-op said that a joint unit with Altamira would be set up and which would see 51% owned by the Spanish financial corporation and 49% by the Co-op.
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In addition to managing €7.2billion in NPLs, Altamira will also be essentially responsible for the management of real property in the possession of the CCB, worth €400million, which resembles a similar agreement between Hellenic Bank and APS Holdings SA announced in January and implemented this month.
“We know the true motives of Altamira because they have a history of how they handle NPL operations in Spain and Portugal. They are not coming here with interest of those who have been affected from this crisis in mind. And I am talking about the unemployed, those with families.”
“Their ulterior motive is to make a profit and at any cost. They are not here to help. If we have nothing to fear like the Co-op claims, then why don’t they disclose the details of this unit? We have questions that have gone unanswered and we will not back down from our measures unless this issue is resolved.”
The movement was established back in 2013 as a product of a suddenly deteriorating economic environment.
During the crisis, an ever increasing number of people could not meet their monthly obligation to the banks, and the danger of mass evictions from their partly bought homes prevailed for the first time in the recent history of Cyprus.
The movement was created to protect vulnerable people in Cyprus who could lose their homes.
Families across Cyprus have been evicted from homes already while properties seized have gone under the hammer.
The Co-op’s chief executive Nicholas Hadjiyiannis has been calling for calm since the deal and has described the agreement as a milestone in the bank’s history, which takes the bank into the next stage regarding dealing with loans in arrears, in accordance with banking practices applied in Europe.
His counterpart at Altamira, Julian Navarro Pascual, said that Cyprus is the first challenge dealt outside the Iberian peninsula, which demonstrates “confidence in the Cooperative Central Bank’s prospects and achieving goals we set”.