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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 3 September 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 9 GREECE CYPRUS Hellenic Bank announces net profit of €1.1 million for first half of 2016 Hellenic Bank announced a modest net profit of €1.1 million for the six months of 2016 ending in 30 June 2016, building on recurring operational profit and reduced non-performing exposures (NPEs) that continued for a third consecutive quarter, Cyprus News Agency reports. Net profit for the second quarter ending on 30 June amounted to €0.41 million compared with a profit of €0.6 million in Q1, the bank announced. Non-performing exposures on June 30 dropped by two per cent quarter on quarter whereas the annual decrease (compared with the first half of 2015) amounted to four per cent. "The NPE ratio amounts to 57.7 per cent, whereas the coverage ratio stands at 50.2 per cent close to the European average," the bank said in a statement. Bert Pijls, the bank CEO said "it is encouraging to see that the bank is making progress against its strategic priorities, which are to reduce nonperforming exposures (NPE) on the one hand and growth on the other. "Our NPE ratio dropped for the third consecutive quarter. As I have repeatedly stated, Hellenic Bank will continue to explore all available options in an effort to decisively tackle the NPE problem." He added the banks are below previous year, loan growth is on track and market share has increased, and the net interest margin has improved. He added, however, "that being said, the effects of the crisis are still being felt and we have had to build some additional provisions during the first six months of the year, which resulted in a profit for the group of €1 million during the first six months of 2016." The banks operating profit before impairment losses amounted to €58.7 million compared with €41.97 in the first half of 2015. The bank said new loans amounted to €152 million in the first half of 2016, whereas completed restructurings reached €334 million. Provisions to cover credit risk increased to €48.75 million in the first half of 2016 compared with €47.01m in the corresponding period of 2015. The group posted a Common Equity Tier 1 (CET 1) of 13.92 per cent, compared to the minimum CET 1 ratio set by the ECB for Hellenic Bank of 11.75 per cent. At the end of 2Q2016, the group's Capital Adequacy Ratio was 17.15 per cent and the Tier 1 ratio was 16.9 per cent . The net loan to deposits ratio stood at 50.5 per cent as at 30 June 2016. On 30 June 2016, total deposits amounted to €6.1 billion while total gross loans reached €4.3 billion. The bank said the management’s top priorities for the remainder of 2016 is the handling of the stillhigh level of NPEs and the growth of the loan portfolio. "Hellenic Bank will intensify restructuring efforts with viable customers and those demonstrating improved customer behavior," the bank said, noting however, "for non-cooperative customers Hellenic Bank will demonstrate zero tolerance and will make full use of available tools through the recent amendments on the legal and judicial framework." The bank reiterated that it will continue supporting the economic recovery of Cyprus and contributing towards sustainable economic growth by providing new lending to the local economy, noting that the bank is opportunities to deploy its liquidity both abroad and in new sectors of the economy. Cyprus calls on Turkey to contribute to the establishment of missing persons’ fate Stavriani Anastasis, the mother of Christofis Anastasis, reacts at his coffin, outside the family house, before his funeral in Sotira village at Famagusta district, Cyprus. Anastasis was listed as a missing person since the Turkey invasion in Cyprus in 1974. His remains were found during exhumations and identified using the DNA method. PHOTO: AP/PETROS KARADJIAS. Cyprus’ government has expressed its support and solidarity with the missing persons’ relatives, assuring that it will intensify its efforts to establish their fate, calling once again on Turkey to cooperate at last and contribute by submitting the data and information it has on Greek Cypriot and Greek missing citizens. In an official press release issued on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the government thanked, via Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Fotis Fotiou, all those who have given information, contributing in this way to the discovery of the remains of those missing, which were given back to their families for burial after being identified. Furthermore it called on anyone who has information or is in a position to obtain it, as regards possible burial sites, adding that "such an act constitutes the best contribu- tion to the issue of missing persons and their relatives in order to close a long-standing open wound". Fotiou expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that despite the anxious efforts the Republic of Cyprus made on a daily basis, even today the fate of most of the missing persons is still unestablished. A Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus was established in April 1981 by agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities under the auspices of the United Nations, CNA reports. The primary objective of the CMP is to enable relatives to recover the remains of their loved ones, arrange for a proper burial and close a long period of anguish and uncertainty. As noted on the commit- tee’s website, over the next two decades, work on both sides focused on conducting investigations and negotiate a common official list of all those who disappeared. Blood samples were collected from relatives to aid future identifications. In 1997, the leaders of the two communities agreed to provide each other immediately and simultaneously with all information already at their disposal on the location of graves of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons. In 2006, the climate was ripe for the CMP to begin excavations and exhumations on both sides of the island. In order to provide the required expertise, archaeologists and anthropologists from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) were brought in to coordinate and train a bi-communal team of Cypriot scientists involved in exhumations and anthropological analysis. July 2007 marked a turning point of historical significance, as CMP began returning the first remains of Greek As downtown Athens slips into decline, fears for safety arise Since the economic crisis hit, it's no secret business owners have been hard hit, with a number of them forced to close down. As the trend continues, however, few steps have been taken to improve security and sanitation in the areas of downtown Athens, reports Kathimerini. "The centre is slipping into decline. At this rate it will soon resemble a ghetto," said Dimitris Nikolakopoulos, a member of the KIPOKA citizens' movement. "In order to keep the city clean and safe, those who live or run businesses in the centre must look after the city. Regrettably, I see this is not always the case." While businesses operations in the area are predominantly owned by immigrants, recent data has revealed a sharp decline in numbers. President of local resident's association Panathinaia, Vasso Nikolopou- lou is concerned that the remaining migrants who cannot find employment and unable to leave Greece, are resorting to crime to make a living. "Security has become a constant concern for those who live in the centre," said Ms Nikolopoulou. "I have lived near Koumoundourou Square for many years. Every day I see people selling or doing drugs inside the park. There is no control." Despite Ms Nikolopoulou's complaints of the situation to authorities and the headquarters of SYRIZA, she says no action has been taken to respond to the matter. Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot individuals to their families. These individuals had been missing since the tragic events of 1963-64 and 1974. Recently, CMP members decided to request access to information that may lead to the discovery of burial sites from all relevant parties. Furthermore, they agreed to set up a dedicated capacity within the CMP to conduct archival research. This will include a team of researchers who will undertake the long task of carrying out an impartial review of archives, in Cyprus and abroad, related to the events of 1963/4 and 1974. According to the figures currently posted on the CMP website, out of 1,508 Greek Cypriots who went missing, the remains of 499 have been identified and returned to their families, while out of 493 Turkish Cypriots who went missing, the remains of 181 were identified and returned to their families.
27 August 2016
10 September 2016