Cyprus Given Monday Deadline

European Central Bank says its emergency funding will expire then

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2013 3:17 AM CDT | Updated Mar 21, 2013 7:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – As Cyprus works on a "plan B" today to fund a bailout, the European Central Bank says its emergency assistance will expire Monday, so there had better be a deal in place, the Wall Street Journal notes. That could be possible: The head of the country's central bank says he expects a "program of support" to be ready by Monday. He hasn't given details, but the country's finance minister today cited "a lot of teams working on number of issues—banks, natural gas, and other opportunities—with which we can base some cooperation and some support from Russia."

Cypriot banks are set to remain closed until Tuesday. The AP and BBC have likely "plan B" details:

  • The country's top lenders could be restructured, with the government taking over bad assets while good assets get sold off.
  • A bank levy on deposits over $130,000 remains a possibility, according to local reports.
  • Money could come from pension funds and foreign banks' Cyprus subsidiaries.
  • Another possible source of help: Cyprus' Orthodox Church. It has offered to mortgage assets—it holds a large portion of a major bank—and invest in government bonds. "The wealth of the church is at the disposal of the country," says Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

A woman solves a crossword as she sits on bench outside a Bank of Cyprus building in Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
A woman solves a crossword as she sits on bench outside a Bank of Cyprus building in Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, March 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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