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Bank of Cyprus 2013 loss narrows

Bank of Cyprus announced a 2013 net loss of 2.04 billion euros, an improvement on the previous year's 2.21 billion euro loss.

NICOSIA: Bank of Cyprus, the island's largest lender, announced on Friday a 2013 net loss of 2.04 billion euros (US$2.8 billion), an improvement on the previous year's 2.21 billion euro loss.

BoC's fourth-quarter loss fell sharply to 93 million euros from 142 million euros in the July-September period.

Last March, Cyprus clinched a 10-billion-euro loan from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to bail out its troubled economy and oversized banking system.

That included closure of the island's second-largest bank, Laiki, and a 47.5 percent "haircut" on deposits above 100,000 euros at BoC.

The bank has since undergone major restructuring, which included absorbing the good assets of the former Laiki Bank.

"The on-going challenging economic conditions continue to pressure the loan book, necessitating additional provisions that resulted in further losses for the fourth quarter of 2013," CEO John Patrick Hourican said in a statement.

"Focusing on arresting asset quality deterioration, making progress on non-core disposals and maintaining capital ratios are core to building a strong platform for the safe return of depositors," said the CEO.

"There were customer deposit inflows during the fourth quarter of 2013, evidencing growing confidence of customers towards the bank," he said.

BoC said stability in the deposit base and improved liquidity allowed the bank to free up blocked six-month deposits ahead of plan and that depositors with released funds "have generally stayed with the bank and, indeed, the retention of deposits exceeded expectations."

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