Cyprus Passes Laws to Empower Banks to Manage Toxic Loans, Clear Way for More European-IMF Aid

Lawmakers in Cyprus on Saturday passed key insolvency laws designed to open the taps for more international bailout cash. The vote makes it possible to operate foreclosure laws that international creditors have demanded as a condition for extending more loans to Cyprus. Recession, high unemployment and declining incomes have produced defaults on more than half of all private loans. The new laws should make it easier for banks to demand payment or seize assets, thereby reducing the banks' own liabilities. Lawmakers had passed some of the legislative package last year, but delayed enforcement until they could approve other bills also passed Saturday that are designed to offer protection to some vulnerable categories of debtors.