Australian Broadcasting Corp features Stephen Pope & Spotlight Ideas...Link to full text of the radio show segment
Thursday March 28th 2013http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3725623.htm
Cypriots angry ahead of banks re-opening
Mary Gearin reported this story on Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:18:00
ELEANOR HALL: Now to Cyprus where the banks are scheduled to re-open later tonight.
In an effort to prevent a flight of money out of the country, the government has imposed tight restrictions on Cypriots wanting to withdraw their cash, as Europe correspondent Mary Gearin reports from Nicosia.
MARY GEARIN: Lia Loizides owns a souvenir shop on the busy tourist strip that is lidras Street in Nicosia. Almost two weeks of bank closures unsettled her and several days ago she started asking her customers for cash.
LIA LOIZIDES: They're closing all the banks. It is very bad for our business because we cannot make our cash from the bank to buy goods so everything stopped now and we cannot get customers with their credit cards because we don't know what would happen after. Maybe we could take them after, they will not accept them or this money. You see, we're angry with the president, with the troika, with everybody.
MARY GEARIN: It's a measure of the hostility surrounding the country's reception of the bailout deal that security guards will be on hand at the reopened banks to cope with the possibility of unrest.
But Marios Mavrides, a Cyprus MP and Member of the House Standing Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs, told RN Breakfast he doesn't anticipate any trouble.
MARIOS MAVRIDES: No, we are not expecting panic because there will be some capital controls and people know about that. I think they will behave responsibly and there is no reason for them to behave panicly (sic) because they know they cannot get all their money anyway.
MARY GEARIN: How much money will people be able to withdraw every single day?
MARIOS MAVRIDES: Three hundred euros for each day and if they do not withdraw in a single day, they have the right to withdraw 600 the second day so that way there is no need for everybody to go to the bank every day.
MARY GEARIN: Mario Marvrides says the measures are only temporary, and necessary for the country to survive.
MARIOS MAVRIDES: If we didn't take those measures then the whole system will collapse and then everybody would lose everything to it's not a matter of stealing the money. It is a matter of saving the country and the economy.
MARY GEARIN: Stephen Pope is a banking expert with UK digital marketing firm Spotlight Ideas. He says it won't take much time for authorities to figure out whether the measures have worked.
STEPHEN POPE: What I think you'd find is that the central bank will be using its accounting team to liaise with the commercial banks at least on a daily basis and maybe a little bit more frequently so that they can start bringing in details to see what is the opening cash balances as each bank has begun on Thursday's trading and then during midday or maybe at the end of the day start to see well how much cash has gone down and does that tally with the number of accounts that appear to have been accessed, which in this automated day and age will certainly be able to be tracked and followed.
So that way I think you would see they are going to try and control the flow of money in an orderly manner.
If one were to start to see ugly scenes or protests outside Parliament or maybe people pushing and shoving, jostling outside various bank branches, then probably the central bank in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance in Cyprus would start to release a degree of information as to how well they are managing the situation which we accept it's a bad situation but at least they'd be keen to show that Cyprus is fully in compliance with whatever was agreed with the euro group, the IMF and so on and that they are managing the situation in as orderly and as a controlled manner as possible despite all the inherent difficulties.
MARY GEARIN: Stephen Pope says the scenes on the street will be the first signal of a run on the banks.
STEPHEN POPE: If a bank which opens its doors tomorrow either on that same day or very quickly in a few days after, suddenly announces its closing its doors again, then there is going to be a significant problem in the system and maybe a scent of blood in the water.
ELEANOR HALL: That’s banking analyst Stephen Pope with our Europe correspondent Mary Gearin in Nicosia.
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