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Cypriot banks brace for reopening with cash withdrawals capped at €300

Armed security guards have been posted, but there was no sign of customers queuing early for access to their cash.

People use ATMs outside a closed branch of the Bank of Cyprus in capital Nicosia.
People use ATMs outside a closed branch of the Bank of Cyprus in capital Nicosia.
Image: (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

FOR THE FIRST time since they were forced to close on 16 March, banks in Cyprus are set to reopen today.

Armed security guards have been posted, but there was no sign of customers queuing early for access to their cash.

Tellers, who unlike in other European countries are not housed behind glass security, have urged customers not to vent their frustrations on them when bank doors open at 10.00am Irish time for the first time in almost two weeks.

Depositors face several restrictions to prevent a run on the banks that could wreak havoc on the island’s already fragile economy, with daily withdrawals limited to €300.

Under a deal agreed in Brussels on Monday, Cyprus must raise €5.8 billion to qualify for a €10 billion bailout from the “troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Depositors with more than €100,000 in the top two banks, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki or ‘Popular Bank’,  face losing a large chunk of their money.

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Five shipping containers reportedly filled with billions of euros were delivered to the central bank in Nicosia late last night.

Additional reporting © AFP, 2013

Read: Cyprus says banks to reopen tomorrow with tight controls >

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