Yesterday Laiki Banks Put Up For Lease Signs

The news cycle may have subsided on CNN, but Cyprus’ economic situation is still a loudly discussed topic on the entire island.

And while some things feel slow in Cyprus with the banks still closed, the building owners wasted no time in putting up for lease (“to let”) signs at Laiki Banks.

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(Photo: Taken March 26, 2013 – the day after Greek Independence Day)

If you saw the news report on CNN two nights ago, you know that Cyprus reached a deal with the EU on the bailout plan. And as details were vaguely laid out by the president, people went to protest in the streets the night of his press conference (March 25) and the day after (March 26).

Cypriot men discussed their views of the topic in Greek at my local supermarket. I don’t know what they said exactly, but by the tone in their voices and the quiet nodding by the lady at the produce stand, I could tell that things are going to look a lot worse before it gets better. Even parents can’t help but talk about it as their children play at the playground.

Banks have remained closed since March 16th, which feels like ages ago. I feel that the longer the banks stay closed, the worse the people’s fears get in Cyprus. And maybe it’s just me, but it seems like I hear more police and other emergency responder sirens in my neighborhood since the initial bailout plan was laid out. For such a safe country with a low crime rate, you can tell people are double locking their doors at night.

And now there are new monetary restrictions imposed on everyone. According to the New York Times report, here are the restrictions:

1. €3,000 limit on taking cash outside of the country, instead of €10,000.

2. €5,000 credit and debit card charge limit per person per month.

3. International fund transfers out of Cyprus are still frozen. (International fund transfers into Cyprus are allowed.)

4. ATM withdrawals will be capped at €300, but at least it’s up from €100.

However, according to a CNN report, the major concern about Cyprus’s economic situation is a potential need for a second bailout:

“The economy, already deep in recession, will contract much more rapidly as the banking industry shrinks, deposits are withdrawn and thousands lose their jobs. That will make servicing its debts even harder, perhaps forcing it to seek another bailout.”

We’ll see what happens tomorrow when all the banks open again. We are hoping and praying for wisdom and peace in the midst of the uncertainty in Cyprus.

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