[INSIGHT] CyprusProfile.com asked AstroBank Managing Director and CEO George Appios which key areas of opportunity or growth he sees in the banking sector, and what his expectations are for Cyprus in 2017.
"The banking sector prospects are intertwined with economic growth. The European Commission’s forecast for the Cypriot economy growth rates for 2017 and 2018 stands at 2.5% and 2.3% respectively. I expect the positive economic sentiment will generate a virtuous circle, increasing demand for both retail and corporate loans in all industries. One should expect increased investment and loan demand opportunities in tourism-related industries and I can see the momentum heating up when our sovereign credit rating becomes investment grade. Existing over-borrowing and the large stocks of NPLs will continue to drag down the pace of growth, but to a lesser effect, especially when property prices begin to rise. International banking will continue to present a growth potential for banks in Cyprus. The regulatory framework enhancements have resulted in improved international banking services which provide a sound base for further expansion. The overall outlook is very positive".