Bank of Cyprus will close its Main pissouri village branch and near by atm is 18km far away for Pissouri residents. Cyprus is facing its own crunch on ATMs and bank branches as dozens are set to close in the next few months, with communities such as Pissouri caught in the middle of what some say is a transition to a cashless society – a major upheaval in one of life’s most basic activities: accessing cash.
The closure of the Pissouri branch means that the community of 1,800 (rising to 4,000 in the summer) faces an 18km drive east to its closest Bank of Cyprus branch ATM. Provided that one doesn’t close down either, the next closest would be the Paphiako branch in Paphos at a distance of about 33km.
Bank of Cyprus Pissouri branch is amongst the latest to get the effect as it’s set to close on July 4. But that’s just one amongst many, as there has already been extensive reduction: from 112 branches in December 2018 to 75 in March, with plans for this to be further reduced to 60 by July.
Pissouri’s community leader Lazaros Lazarou confirmed that he held a meeting with officials from the bank just before Easter.
“We were told that they want to reduce cash to a minimum, well, all right but until then find a solution which works,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for us, we can try to prevent it but ultimately it’s a business which can operate as it wants, not even the state can intervene.”
“I’m a 60-year-old who can just about do some basic stuff online, but what hope is there for our 80-year-old mothers and fathers and others in the community to get their jobs done?” he asked.
BoC spokesperson referred the Daily Cyprus to an announcement this week which details that efforts are underway for a substantial streamlining of its workforce through 2022 with a target to reduce employees by 15 per cent – about 500 people. It also aims to close 25 per cent of its branches.
“Many customers are already digitally accessing their services, and we’re now looking at which branches are economically viable,” they said.
The Bank of Cyprus official emphasised that there will however be a smooth transition so as not to impact everyday life.
They explained that running an ATM costs about €30,000 a year, including servicing the cash point, although that figure does not include repairs and personnel.
They detailed that the BoC still offers 156 ATMs.
But with branches and ATMs closing at record pace, with no immediate substitute, many residents are worried about the impact it will have on their communities.