Disputes Resolution Procedure
Disputes Resolution Procedure
On the basis of the provisions of the Directive on Arrears Management 2015, issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus (hereinafter “the Directive”) by virtue of section 41 of the Business of Credit Institutions Law of 1997 to 2015, Hellenic Bank Public Co Ltd (hereinafter “the Bank”) hereby informs you of the following:
The objective of the said Directive is "the application of efficient and effective strategies, policies, infrastructure, procedures and mechanisms for the management of arrears and the achievement of fair and sustainable restructurings of credit facilities of borrowers with financial difficulties with the ultimate aim of dealing with financial hardship occasioned by the economic crisis the Republic of Cyprus is undergoing".
The Bank, by virtue of the provisions of the Directive, has instituted and operates an independent internal disputes resolution procedure, resulting from the submission of objections, appeals, demands and complaints in relation to the Bank’s decision or omission or refusal by the Bank to take decision regarding the borrower’s credit facilities’ restructuring procedure, which:
- must be in full compliance with the provisions of the relevant "Code of Conduct on the Handling of Borrowers in Financial Difficulties" (hereinafter “the Code of Conduct”) and
- includes the establishment of a 3member independent Disputes Resolution Committee (hereinafter “the Committee”), which deals with the objections/appeals in question unbiased, without any conflict of interests.
2.1 The provisions of the Code of Conduct apply in relation to the following persons:
- Natural persons granted credit facilities by the Bank with total balances of credit facilities (including credit facilities of their connected persons) up to one million euro (€1.000.000). The said scope of application includes guarantors of the borrower and third parties who provided securities to the Bank for the borrower.
- Micro and small enterprises as defined in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (2003/361/EC) granted credit facilities by the Bank with total balances of credit facilities (including credit facilities of their connected persons) up to one million euro (€1.000.000).
- The following persons do not fall within the scope of application of the Code:
- persons for which an application for bankruptcy was filed by another creditor;
- persons for which a receiver or administrator was appointed by another creditor;
- persons for which a dissolution decree was issued.
The general aim of the Committee is to find a just compromise solution between the borrower / guarantor / security provider and the Bank and to avoid recourse to the Financial Commissioner as well as time consuming legal proceedings.
Procedure for Submission of Objections/ Appeals
4.1 Informing Customers regarding the existence of the above procedure
The Bank’s customers may be informed regarding the existence of the procedure for submission of objections, appeals, demands and complaints:
- through the website of the Bank;
- through the formal loan account statements sent to them, on the reverse page on which there is a permanent relevant statement;
- through specially printed information pamphlets, which describe the procedure and are placed in prominent areas at all Business Units / Branches of the Bank.
Besides the above, at the initiation of the restructuring process, customers are informed in relation to the Committee’s existence, their right to submit an appeal to the Committee as well as for the relevant process of submitting an appeal.
4.2 Methods for Submitting an Objection/ Appeal
The objection/appeal is required to be submitted by the legal holder and/or beneficiary of the account of the borrower or by their legal representative. In the case of a company, by its lawfully authorized representatives. Complaints are also acceptable from guarantors as well as security providers. As a rule anonymous complaints are not accepted.
It is stressed that oral objections are not acceptable. An objection may be submitted only by written application. The application should be duly completed and must state clearly the reason / basis for the objection/appeal, accompanied by the required relevant documents for examination purposes. If the borrower wishes, they can use the standard application form CR(CU)40 provided by the Bank for this purpose. The written application is submitted via:
- electronic mail, to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
- registered mail, where on the envelope it must be written "To Disputes Resolution Committee, Hellenic Bank Public Co Ltd. Corner of Limassol Avenue and Athalassas, P.O. Box 24747, 1394 Nicosia, Cyprus".
The form CR(CU)40 is also available at prominent areas at all Business Units / Branches of the Bank.
Additionally, all relevant supporting information and documentation will be available to borrowers to enable them to file claims or appeals, at their request.
4.3 Receipt of objection/ appeal
With the receipt of the objection/appeal by the Committee, a formal notice of receipt (official acknowledgement of the appeal) shall be sent within 21 days from the date of receipt.
4.4 Point of contact for administering objections, demands and complaints
The borrower / guarantor / security provider may be kept informed as regards the progress of the examination of their objection/appeal by contacting, by telephone at 22-501754, Mr Marios Nicou
4.5 Procedure for Examining the objection/appeal by the Committee
In order to examine the objection/appeal, the Committee has the right to access and review the records which the Bank must maintain, by virtue of the Directive, and which include:
- all communications with borrowers regarding arrears and restructurings of loans,
- all information received by the borrower,
- all actions taken during the restructuring process,
- all assessments that have been undertaken,
- all formal approvals that have been given, and
- other relevant legal documents.
In case it is deemed necessary the Committee may and has the right to communicate either by telephone or in person, with the:
- sender of the objection / borrower who filed the appeal and
- the corresponding Customer Relations Officer as well with its Management for the receipt of any clarifications and/or additional evidence required.
The Committee has the obligation to have a meeting with the borrower should he/she requests for such a meeting.
4.6 Handling of Appeals by the Committee
The Committee shall, for each case, examine whether the provisions of the Code have been adhered to. In case of rejection of the proposed restructuring solution by the borrower, the Committee will investigate whether the solution proposed by the Bank was appropriate and compatible for the borrower’s case, otherwise it will propose for re-examination by the Bank for the forming of another proposed restructuring solution or, in case of refusal by the Bank for restructuring due to the fact that no sustainable restructuring solution was found, the Committee will conduct reassessment of the borrower’s case and ensure that indeed no other restructuring solution exists.
4.7 Positive or Negative decision of the Bank to Restructuring Solutions
In the case of a positive decision of the Bank to a restructuring solution where the borrower declines the Bank’s proposal, then the borrower has the right to forward an appeal to the Committee within one month from the date of receipt of the Bank’s reply letter to the Borrower’s letter declining the content of the Bank’s letter of Offer.
In the case of a negative decision of the Bank to a restructuring solution, the borrower has the right, in case where he/she so desires, to forward an appeal against the decision, requesting its re-examination by the Committee within one month from the date of receipt of the letter containing the Bank’s negative decision.
It is stressed that in both cases the Bank maintains the right to call in the accounts and initiate legal proceedings following the completion of the appeals process.
4.8 Final Decision of the Committee
The formal decision of the Committee regarding the appeal shall be sent to the sender within 2 months from the date of its receipt.