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What We Can Learn from the Cyprus Bailout

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It’s no big secret that investors and decision makers alike are up in arms over Cyprus’ bailout its rippling effects over the world economy. If you’re thinking that this is an issue that only affects Cypriot taxpayers, its politicians and financiers, then you are sadly mistaken.

Although there is no longer the risk of immediate banking fallouts, the ramifications of the bailout will most likely be long-term and the list of consequences extensive. The trust between banks and its customers is a major concern for everyone involved, including decision makers and international investors.

In an aid deal to prevent the country from going bankrupt, Bank of Cyprus depositors who have accounts exceeding 100,000 euros may suffer losses of up to 60 percent in order to comp a €10 billion bailout from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. Yes, Cypriot account holders have to personally compensate for the financial meltdown. And although this particular circumstance may seem like an internal solution to an internal problem, Cyprus has many large scale investors from countries, like Russia, Slovenia and Italy, where big money os at stake. For instance, Russian investors have over 20 billion euros in Cypriot banks.

Russian leaders have accused the European Union of “theft” as uninsured funds will be frozen and used to pay off debts. Meanwhile IMF chief Christine Lagarde recently stated that this decision “will form a lasting, durable and fully financed solution”. Sure, this bailout will avoid bankruptcy and further financial turmoil for Cyprus. But what will it do for foreign investors and more importantly, the fragile relationship between banks and its Cypriot customers? Whose to say your money is really insured?

One of the many questions small-to-medium sized depositors is regarding the honesty and personal investments in insuring that the costumers deposits are really protected. Marios Mavrides, a lawmaker for the ruling Disy party in Cyprus stated that the plan “will make things worse as small and medium-sized companies will run out of liquidity,” and “does not help to gain back people’s trust, deposits should be free in order to gain that trust.”

What do you think? Should you continue relinquishing your hard earned money into these institutions or just keep it safely hidden under your mattress? The European Union, along with other critics, insures us that this is a pretty unique situation and will not become an everyday solution for countries seeking bailouts. But whose to say this won’t happen again if this sacred trust between banks and its customers is broken.

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