Characterised by the well known German newspaper SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG as a woman of numbers and a fighter against corruption, the new Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Chrystalla Georghadji is the second woman to join the board of governors of the European Central Bank, joining the German Director of the ECB Sabine Lautenschläger, who assumed her duties a few weeks ago. They will both enrich the Board with the female approach and mentality, since until now formulating the banking and financial policies of the EU was a boys’ game only.
According to the Guardian newspaper, the appointment of Mrs Georghadji will please the international lenders of Cyprus, not least because, she “is a seasoned technocrat educated in the US and UK who has gained a reputation as a no-nonsense figure at the head of an anti-corruption watchdog that regularly reports on misuse of public funds. She has advocated scaling back the island’s public sector and pressing ahead with the overhaul of its near-defunct banking system”.
Indeed, Georghadji has already started her meetings with her predecessor, as well as the board of the Central Bank of Cyprus and other associates, in order to get briefed on the pending issues and be able to swim in the deep waters on April 11, when she officially takes up her duties. She has already stated that the biggest challenge she will face is to restore confidence in the economy and mainly in the banking system of Cyprus, also stressing that she is confident that this can be achieved.
We all know however that it will not be an easy task by any means, since the blow to the people’s confidence in Cyprus’ banks was severe following last year’s events and also the system faces extreme difficulties such as limited liquidity. Indeed one of the issues that the new Governor will have to decide on is a request made by Lebanese banks, which recently urged the Cypriot central bank to lift restrictions on residents, whether they are individuals or companies, on opening accounts at the branches of Lebanese banks in Cyprus, even for those seeking permanent residence or Cypriot nationality,” According to the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) the Cypriot central bank had promised to study the request. Lebanese banks had also expressed interest in cooperating with Cypriot banks to help them overcome cash flow problems.
What is even more interesting to see however is what stance the new Central Bank of Cyprus boss will take with regards to bitcoin and its regulation. We have already reported on the opening of the first store in Nicosia, acting as a bitcoin “bank branch”. Neo and Bee, the latter being the card payment system being promoted using the digital currency, continue their efforts to lobby and influence decision makers and regulating bodies in Cyprus, in an attempt to get their operations regulated and also in the aspiration that Cyprus can forge a new future as a centre of bitcoin use and commerce.
We have also already reported how such a move would be welcomed by the Cyprus Stock Exchange, which is in desperate need of a boost. Moreover, we feel that CySEC, the Cypriot regulator is forward looking and innovative enough as a body, since it was a pioneer in regulating binary options, not to oppose such a move. Recently, the Cyprus Mail newspaper carried a report according to which anonymous sources from the Central Bank of Cyprus were saying that “Bitcoin is not illegal”. Having snooped around bit our sources also confirm that certain CBC officials do indeed cast a favourable glance on the bitcoin issues. So, maybe, with the arrival of a lady at the top post, the bitcoin, Neo and Bee might just get the chance they were waiting for….