Press release

8 May 2020 Nicosia, CY

EY Cyprus: COVID-19 tests the resilience of the Cypriot and European banking system

EY Cyprus: COVID-19 tests the resilience of the Cypriot and European banking system

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EY Cyprus

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

  • 91% of executives who participated in the EY Cyprus webcast believe that there is a possibility that the coronavirus crisis will lead to further consolidation of Cypriot banks
  • 83% of executives believe that digital channels and virtual customer engagement will help Banks create long-term value and enterprise resilience to a great extent


EY Cyprus held a webcast on Wednesday, May 06, titled Addressing COVID-19 challenges in Banking | Tomorrow is Now! which was attended by high-level and senior executives of the financial sector. The webcast was designed to contribute to the understanding of the significant challenges facing the Cypriot banking system, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide insights with regards to the global effects of the pandemic and challenges faced by European Banks. This was the fourth of a series of webcasts organised by EY Cyprus, to address the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis in the economy and businesses, and the first specifically for the banking sector. The webcast was presented by EY professionals with significant experience in financial services from both Cyprus and abroad.

The webcast commenced with David Barker, EY’s Corporate Finance Leader for Strategy and Transactions in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESA). David, who is also COVID-19 Response Taskforce Leader in EMEIA and as of July 1st, EY Cyprus new Country Managing Partner, talked about how the global spread of the pandemic affects the European banking system and how this, in turn, affects the stability of the European economy. David gave as an example, the historic fall of the PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) in the Eurozone in March 2020, while analysing the impact of the crisis on the GDP of some of Europe's largest economies, stressing that every week that passes with the economy in lockdown mode, the ratio of debt to GDP is increasing. Together with David in this first section, was George Papadimitriou, EY CESA Financial Services Leader, who analysed the implications of COVID-19 on Banks’ business and how these implications are testing the resilience of the financial services sector also in Cyprus.

In the second section, Stelios Demetriou, Strategy and Transactions Leader of EY Cyprus together with Andreas Socratous, Senior Manager in Strategy and Transactions, explained the results of the Banking Industry Pulse survey conducted in April aiming to capture the industry sentiment and the banking executives’ expectations with regards to the COVID impact on the sector, and presented the trends anticipated to be followed by banking KPIs in the coming years.

At the end of this section, participants were given a poll question to answer whether they believed that further consolidation between the Cypriot banks will take place, as a result of the crisis. An overwhelming 70% of the executives who attended the webcast believe that there is a possibility of further consolidation, while 21% of executives believe that there is a high probability for this to happen. This confirms the view that, in the wake of COVID-19, further consolidation in the banking system is deemed inevitable.

In the third part of the webcast, Savvas Pentaris, Head of Financial Services of EY Cyprus, and Stavros Violaris, Director in Financial Accounting Advisory Services, presented some IFRS9 accounting and reporting matters arising as a result of the pandemic.

The fourth section was presented by Charalambos Constantinou, Head of Advisory Services at EY Cyprus, and Achilleas Arvanitis, Partner specializing in Strategy, Digital and Customer Experience at EY Greece. The speakers examined the multiple challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis for retail and corporate banking. They analysed the three distinct horizons that Banks should plan for simultaneously and the actions they need to consider with regards to their Customers, Brand, Products, Branch Network, Digital Transformation and Innovation.

During this section, a second poll question was given, asking participants whether they believe that digital channels and virtual customer engagement will help Banks create long-term value and enterprise resilience and to what extent. All the executives who replied gave a positive answer, with 83% responding "to a large extent" and 17% answering "to a certain extent".

In the fifth and final part, Charalambos Prountzos, CESA Law Leader and Law and Funds Services Leader of EY Cyprus, together with Clifton Harrison, EMEIA Business Development Leader of EY Law, talked about legal managed services for mass loan instalment payment suspensions and other mass financing contract requests and key legal issues for COVID-19 related restructurings.

The webcast ended with a Q&A session, where EY executives responded to some of the questions posed by the participants during the webcast, giving a more in-depth analysis of the main issues concerning them.

Commenting on the key takeaways from the webcast, Savvas Pentaris, Head of Financial Services of EY Cyprus, said: “This is too big of a crisis to waste it on only managing its negative consequences. Despite the difficulties that we are all facing and will continue to face for some time, let’s identify and develop some of the positive aspects from this situation, such as the increased utilisation of technology, the acceleration of digital transformations and the use of artificial intelligence”. 

EY Cyprus will continue to organise webcasts on a regular basis, focusing on different areas of business and economic activity, with the aim to inform and discuss the effects and challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.



EY Cyprus Webcast: COVID-19 challenges in Banking (in Greek)

For more information, please contact the EY Cyprus

Email: Irene Charitou

Contact number: +357 22209999

Notes to Editors

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