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High Interest Rates Continue To Put Pressure On Loan Demand

Loan demand continued to decline in the first quarter of 2024, with banks attributing the decline to high interest rates, while the terms and conditions for granting loans to businesses became tighter in the first quarter of 2024 after three consecutive quarters in which they had remained unchanged.

The criteria for lending to households remained stable.

According to the Central Bank’s Bank Lending Survey for the first quarter of 2024, the credit standards, as well as the terms and conditions for loans to enterprises, tightened in the first quarter of 2024, mainly due to Banks’ reduced risk tolerance, as well as their perception of increased risk about the general economic situation and the outlook for the economy.

On the other hand, the credit standards for loans to households remained unchanged in the first quarter of 2024, for mortgage loans, consumer and other loans.

The terms and conditions for housing loans also remained unchanged while they tightened for consumer credit and other lending to households.

The net demand for business loans decreased, in the first quarter of 2024, and at the same time, the net demand for housing loans as well as for consumer credit and other lending also decreased.

However, the survey notes that increased financing needs for fixed investment, possibly reflecting the positive growth prospects of the Cypriot economy, as well as debt refinancing/restructuring, contributed positively to loan demand.

As far as households are concerned, the net decline in demand for mortgage loans is attributed by banks to higher interest rates, lower consumer confidence and a weakening housing market outlook.

Finally, according to banks’ expectations for the second quarter of 2024, the lending criteria for both businesses and households are expected to remain unchanged compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, a decline in net demand for consumer and other loans from households is expected, while both net demand for business loans and mortgage loans from households are expected to remain stable.

Digital Transactions: A Green Approach To Finance In Cyprus

As Cyprus increasingly embraces digital transactions, the environmental benefits of this shift are becoming evident. A recent report highlights that digital payments significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional banking operations. By decreasing the reliance on physical branches, paper-based processes, and the transportation of cash, digital transactions are contributing to a more sustainable financial ecosystem. This transition is in line with global initiatives to combat climate change and underscores Cyprus’ commitment to promoting a cleaner, more efficient financial landscape.

Digital transactions are not only more convenient and efficient but also significantly less resource-intensive. Traditional banking often involves extensive paperwork, the use of physical infrastructure, and the transportation of money, all of which contribute to higher carbon emissions. In contrast, digital transactions streamline these processes, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced waste.

The environmental advantages of digital transactions are complemented by their economic benefits. By lowering operational costs and enhancing transaction speed and security, digital payments provide a compelling case for broader adoption. This shift supports sustainable development goals and aligns with the global push towards greener, more resilient economies.

Furthermore, the widespread adoption of digital transactions in Cyprus is expected to drive innovation within the financial sector. With the integration of advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, the digital financial landscape is set to become even more efficient and secure. These innovations not only enhance user experience but also contribute to environmental sustainability by further reducing the need for physical resources.

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