[INSIGHT] CyprusProfile.com asked Board Member of Hellenic Bank, Irena Georgiadou, which key areas of opportunity or growth she sees in the banking sector, and what her expectations are for Cyprus in 2017.
"Cyprus banking is in much better shape than few years ago. Better regulated, fully recapitalised and downsized significantly, it is in a position to support and finance the growth of the economy. The fact that in 2017 the economy will be growing at rates close to 3% creates great financing opportunities. At Hellenic we focus on extending new loans to viable SMEs and support investment in sectors that are main economic drivers, such as tourism, shipping and energy sector. The high level of NPLs still remains the primary challenge of the banking sector. Our biggest achievement this year is the creation, in collaboration with an international specialised firm, of a debt servicing and asset management platform to decisively tackle the NPL issue. Despite the challenging global environment, I am optimistic that the growth momentum of Cyprus will continue in 2107 and the benefits will be reflected in the real economy".