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Ministry Of Finance Issues 12th Decree

Further to the recent decisions contained in the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Cyprus banking sector, as adopted by the Eurogroup, the Ministry of Finance in Cyprus has put into effect a series of restrictive measures on banking transactions, which apply to all financial institutions in Cyprus.

As of today and for a period of 7 days, the following measures apply: The maximum amount of cash withdrawals (via debit/credit cards, bank tellers and credit cards against a current/sight account) shall not exceed €300 or its equivalent in foreign currency. This amount is calculated per person and assumes the consolidation of all accounts held by a person in each financial institution. Any part of the maximum cash allowance that is not withdrawn within a day, can be withdrawn at any time afterwards. The cashing of cheques is prohibited.

There are no restrictions on transfers of deposits or funds for up to €15.000 monthly per natural person and €75.000 monthly per company to another financial institution. There are no restrictions on payments (other than cash payments) up to €300.000 per transaction to accounts held in other financial institutions, always provided that (a) transfers of deposits or funds between €50.001 and €300.000 to accounts held in other financial institutions are permitted provided they fall within the normal business activity of the customer and all the necessary supporting documents are provided; and (b) transfers of deposits or funds over €300.000 are permitted provided that they fall within the normal business activity of the customer, the customer submits all necessary supporting documents and such transfer is subject to approval by a Committee established by the Central Bank of Cyprus for this purpose. Payments to accounts held outside of Cyprus are prohibited, with the exceptions of (a) payments of employee salaries and only upon submission of supporting documents, (b) living expenses up to €5.000 per quarter; and (c) tuition fees of a person who is studying outside Cyprus and is a first degree relative of the Cyprus resident. 

Also, transactions that fall within the normal business activity of the customer apply with the following limitations: Payments up to €500.000 are not subject to the Committee's approval provided that each credit institution shall ensure that justifying documents are presented in each case. Payments between €500.000 and €1.000.000  shall be submitted to the Committee in a standarised electronic file format and are subject to approval within 24 hours. Payments over €1.000.000 shall be submitted to the Committee accompanied by all the necessary justifying documents. Payments outside Cyprus via debit/credit/prepaid cards are permitted with a cap of €5.000 monthly. Transfers of deposits or funds abroad per legal person per financial institution up to €5.000 are permitted.

Termination of fixed term deposits is prohibited prior to their maturity unless the funds are used to repay a loan within the same credit institution (provided the loan was granted before the enforcement) or to create one or more fixed term deposits the total amount of which is equal to the initial deposit and for a term at least equal to the initial term of the terminated one or to repay an overdraft, or credit card account. Transfers from a fixed term deposit to a current/sight account within the same institution up to €5.000, for humanitarian reasons are also permitted.

On the first maturity of fixed term deposits, the higher amount between €5.000 or 20% of the total amount of the deposit in question, shall according to the choice of the depositor, either be transferred to a sight/current account or be deposited in  a new fixed term deposit in the same credit institution. For the remaining amount, the maturity shall be extended for 1 month. Exports of euro or foreign currency notes are permitted for up to €3.000 per natural person per journey abroad. Every, financial transaction, payment and transfer which has not been completed prior to the entry into force of the measures, shall be subject to them.

The opening if a new account for any customer who is not an existing customer of a financial institution is prohibited unless the account will only be credited with funds transferred from abroad or the prior approval of the Central Bank Committee is obtained. Exempted from the restrictive measures are: All new funds transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

Withdrawal of cash using debit/credit/prepaid cards issued by foreign financial institutions on accounts abroad. The cashing of cheques issued on accounts held with foreign institutions abroad. Cash withdrawals from accounts of credit institutions with the Central Bank Payments and receipts of the Cyprus Republic and the Central Bank. Payments that have been authorized by the Committee. Foreign diplomatic missions and the UN missions in the Republic of Cyprus.

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