Outrage upon outrage. Audacity upon audacity. In an email to its depositors last week, the wonderful amazing Bank of Cyprus informed its trusting depositors that it was going to take more of their money. Instead of limiting the theft of amounts over $130,000 to 40% the BOC is raising the amount of the robbery to 60%!
But there’s good news! 37.5% of the theft will be converted into ownership in the wonderful amazing bank with – ready? – full voting rights! And, in addition – wait for it! – they will receive any dividends the bank might declare in the future accruing to that ownership!
Oh, but there’s bad news as well. Sorry. The wonderful amazing BOC is going to withhold “temporarily” an additional 22.5% to “ensure” that the bank can meet the terms imposed by its new true real owners: the Eurozone commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
It gets even better. The BOC is setting up a commission (always good to hear that) to study 1) just how long that “temporary” hold will be, and 2) the possibility that that additional amount will also be converted into ownership of the wonderful amazing bank. Here’s how Bloomberg phrased it:
The Central Bank of Cyprus will appoint an independent valuer for the commercial lender and all or part of the 22.5 percent additional haircut may also be converted into shares within 90 days of that process being completed, according to the statement. Any remaining amount will be returned to customers with interest, the central bank said.
But not everyone gets to participate in this wonderful amazing opportunity to own a part of a wonderful amazing bank. Only if you have more than $130,000 in your account do you get to participate. If you have less than that, well, too bad, you’ll just have to muddle through without being offered this grand opportunity:
The so-called bail-in won’t apply to Bank of Cyprus account holders whose debts to the lender bring their net balance below the 100,000-euro threshold, according to the statement. Holders of accounts at other banks on the Mediterranean island aren’t being touched.
Well, shoot! It must mean that only depositors at the wonderful etc. BOC will be able to participate. This is discrimination! This is unfair! There ought to be a law!
The message being sent via email by the BOC is being received by every bank depositor in the world: your bank can take your money and keep it. That’s just how things are these days. Get used to it.