LIMASSOL, Cyprus Feb 14 Banking regulators from
Cyprus and Lebanon said on Friday they would explore ways to
strengthen financial links between the two countries, including
Bankers from both countries said Lebanese banks were well
placed to expand in Cyprus, which has had a liquidity crunch
since an international bailout in March 2013 shut down a major
bank and imposed losses on large depositors in a second lender.
With branches of nine Lebanese banks and four more as
subsidiaries, Lebanon has the largest national grouping of banks
on the eastern Mediterranean island.
"Lebanon has historical ties with Cyprus, with Lebanese
businessmen well established and with offices here," said Riad
Salameh, the Lebanese central bank governor.
"We think this can offer further synergies in the banking
sector, and the Lebanese banks here can play a role on the
island or though establishing correspondent or syndication
relations with Cypriot banks," he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference, Cypriot central
bank governor Panicos Demetriades said close ties between the
two countries could benefit Cyprus.
"It could help support trade finance, which has been a
problem in recent months for companies. In terms of project
financing, which is perhaps a longer term issue, Lebanese banks
could help in re-activating the Cypriot economy and the economic
recovery of Cyprus."