A total of 486 bank branches in Cyprus were shut down between 2012 and 2018 with customers now getting service from a much smaller network. At the same time, the number of bank employees has fallen by 3,910 within these six years.
The banking map’s contraction in Cyprus is distinct because of Laiki Bank’s closure in 2013 and that of the Cyprus Co-operative Bank in September 2018.
It is clearly recorded in the recently-released European Central Bank data of structural financial indicators for the banking sector in the European Union.
Cyprus had a total of 850 bank branches back in 2012, as dark clouds gathered over the banking sector. This number included Laiki and Co-op bank branches.
Following Laiki’s collapse in 2013 and the absorption of its network by Bank of Cyprus, branches decreased to 682. Within a year, 168 banking networks were closed. The second large wave of branch closures came in 2016 with the number falling to 544 and to 460 in 2017.
After the Co-op bank’s collapse in 2018 and the takeover of its good part by Hellenic Bank, the network shrank by 16%, reaching a total of 386 branches.
In Greece, there were 1,978 branches in 2018 compared to 2,168 in 2017, marking a decrease of 8.8%. Sweden also had a large network shrinkage in 2018 with bank branches decreasing by 26.5%, followed by Portugal with 16.6%, Finland with 11.5%, Lithuania with 15.4% and Latvia with 12.4%.
Much bigger countries than Cyprus have fewer bank branches, according to the ECB data. As for Lithuania, it has a total of 406, Latvia 218, Luxembourg 210, Malta 97 and Estonia 91.
Despite the shrinking network, Cyprus still maintains a high number of bank employees compared to other European countries with a bigger population. By end of 2018, Cyprus had 8,946 bank employees, Slovenia 9,683, Latvia 7,345, and Lithuania 9,165.
In 2012, bank employees in Cyprus numbered 12,853 and decreased to 10,632 by 2017. A total of 2,221 bank employees left the profession either due to voluntary retirement or retirement.