House to pass bill on banks’ abusive clauses next month
Zacharias Zachariou, Chairman of the House Trade Committee, said that a new bill to extend the network for consumer protection in regard to the abusive clauses imposed by the banking institutions will be passed into law in March.
This follows an earlier announcement by the head of the Insolvency Department that the number of people declaring personal bankruptcy had more than halved to 3,000.
Speaking after Tuesday’s meeting of the Trade Committee, Zachariou said that the two bills introduced to regulate the issue of the abusive clauses imposed by banks have been merged into one, adding that the intention is to increase the consumer protection index so that borrowers can have good relations with banks again and clear rules to be set and “nobody can fool nobody”.
He said that a sub-committee comprising MPs Maria Kyriakou (DISY), Angelos Votsis (DIKO) and Yiannakis Gavriel (AKEL) has been set up under the House Trade Committee to review the technical terms of the issue and unify the political decisions related to the expansion of the gray zone list of the abusive clauses, prohibiting the calculation of loan interest on the basis of 360 days instead of 365 days, prohibition of arbitrary contract interruption of any borrower without any regulations.
He added that the committee discussed the issues of insurances, assessments and delays in payments, which will be further processed and included in the final text which will protect the consumer.
In statements to the Cyprus News Agency, the Head of the Insolvency Department Yiorgos Karotsakis said that as of November 7, 2015, 7,000 bankrupt natural persons have been restored, while the remaining 3,000 will be deleted from the register gradually, provided that they comply with certain criteria in the law.
He said that those who declared bankruptcy before May 7, 2015, when the insolvency framework was voted in, will be exempted from bankruptcy within a period of 3.5 years from the date of receipt order, while those who went bankrupt after May 7, 2015 will be released after three years.
Karotsakis said that the bankrupt person is exempted from all verifiable debts, provided he acts in good faith and cooperates fully with the Official Receiver or the Operator for the sale and distribution of the bankruptcy property.
He also said that the bankrupt person will not be exempted from debts or obligations to the state, such as, taxes or fees or amounts due to the Republic, the municipalities or communities etc.
Meanwhile, Taxation Commissioner Yiannakis Lazarou said that in addition to the taxes that have been issued in December 2015 as regards the ‘Lagarde list’ of individuals with deposits in overseas banks, the authorities must examine a total of 116 remaining bank accounts and issue taxes for the years after 2003. Lazarou met with House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou and briefed him on the progress so far in relation with the investigation of the data and information contained in the Lagarde List.
A press release issued by the Parliament says that Lazarou briefed the House Speaker that upon evaluation of all the data at his office, taxation was issued in December 2015 as well as special defense contribution for the year 2003 for 88 taxpayers, of whom 87 are individuals and one a legal entity.
According to the same data, the total amount of income tax, defense tax and charges in December 2015 is approximately EUR 38.4 mln. The last period of issue of taxes was in December 2015, and taxpayers are entitled to file an objection until the end of February.