December 7, 2016 / 10:55 AM / a year ago

Cyprus govt to "fast forward" exit from Co-Op Bank - fin min

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Cyprus’ government wants to “fast forward” the exit of its stake in the country’s Co-Op Bank, the only lender that received state aid during the country’s financial crisis, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday.

“We shall probably be fast forwarding the exit of the government from the Co-Op bank,” Georgiades said an Economist event.

“The state is obliged to exit commencing 2018 but our intention is probably to expedite the process in a way which may actually involve the more broad public participation in the ownership of the Co-Op.”

The Co-Op Bank is one of Cyprus’s big three banks with almost 40 percent of the deposits of the country’s residents.

It was bailed out with 1.5 billion euros in taxpayers’ money and has a loan book where about half of the loans are non-performing, mirroring a trend throughout the Cypriot banking system. (Reporting by Marc Jones)

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