Cyprus Keeping Banks Closed Until Thursday

Transaction limits staying in place after bailout

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2013 3:26 AM CDT | Updated Mar 26, 2013 7:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Cypriots hoping to get their hands on what is still technically their money are going to have to wait at least another couple of days. The government has ordered the country's banks, which have been closed since March 15, to stay closed until Thursday to prevent a run on deposits following the last-minute EU bailout deal. People can still make ATM withdrawals, with a daily limit of $130 at the two biggest banks, but the machines often run out of cash and many businesses have stopped accepting debit or credit cards, the AP reports. Meanwhile, Bank of Cyprus chairman Andres Artemis has resigned this morning, reports Reuters.

Even when banks reopen, limits on withdrawals are expected to remain, along with measures to prevent money from leaving the country, the BBC reports. Deposits above $130,000 in the two biggest banks, which will be subject to a stiff levy under the bailout deal, will be frozen. President Nicos Anastasiades didn't offer Cypriots many details on the transaction limits that will be imposed, but told them, "I want to assure you that this will be a very temporary measure that will gradually be relaxed," Reuters reports. The BBC spoke with the country's finance minister, who said the levy will be "significant," and as high as 40%.

Cypriots watch a TV screen as President Nicos Anastasiades addresses the nation last night.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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