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16 June, 2024
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The birth of Bank of Cyprus in 1899

How the Bank of Cyprus shaped the island's economic destiny

By Anna Polyviou

The narrative of the Bank of Cyprus, the venerable cornerstone of the island's financial landscape, traces its origins back to January 1, 1899. This pivotal moment heralded a new era not only for Cyprus's economy but also for its societal fabric.

Spearheaded by a cadre of influential figures known for their professional acumen and social engagement, including the visionary Ioannis Economides, the initiative sought to confront the scourge of usury prevalent at the time. Thus, the Savings Bank "Laiki Bank" was born, marking a bold stride towards fostering a culture of thrift and cooperation.

Fast forward to February 19, 1912, when the shareholders of the Savings Bank embarked on a transformative journey by formalizing its transition into the "Bank of Cyprus," a joint-stock entity with a capital of 200,000 pounds. Little did they know then that this institution would become synonymous with the island's economic vitality and leave an indelible mark on its modern history.

The emblematic "Common Cypriot," a copper coin steeped in history, serves as the quintessential symbol of the Bank of Cyprus. Its timeless design immediately evokes a sense of identity and heritage, bridging the past with the present. With its inception dating back to Hellenistic times, the "Common Cypriot" association transcended its initial religious purpose to become a dynamic force shaping Cyprus's national, social, and economic landscape.

In 1943, under the rallying cry of "Cyprus for Cypriots," the Bank of Cyprus embarked on a transformative journey, merging with banking institutions from across the island. This strategic move heralded a new era, transforming the Cypriot banking landscape and cementing the institution as the financial bedrock of the nation.

The official emblem of the Bank, featuring the copper Cypriot coin of Emperor Claudius, exudes a timeless elegance. Its inscription, nestled within a laurel wreath, symbolizes unity and resilience, echoing the ethos of the bank throughout the ages.

Today, housed within the hallowed halls of the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus, the historic coin of Emperor Claudius finds its sanctuary. This revered artifact serves as a testament to the bank's enduring legacy and its commitment to preserving Cyprus's rich cultural heritage.

As custodians of history, the Bank of Cyprus continues to enrich its cultural endeavors, forging new pathways that honor its past while embracing the future. From its humble beginnings to its present-day stature, the Bank of Cyprus remains steadfast in its mission to serve as a beacon of prosperity and unity for all Cypriots.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  banks  |  economy

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