The economic crisis in Greece and Cyprus was the mainspring for the collapse of Cyprus Laiki Bank. The haircut of all deposits over Euro 100.000 of Laiki (also known as the Cyprus Popular Bank) and the final absorption of the bank’s operations by the Bank of Cyprus, have had a major negative impact upon the social/economic system, reflecting the false sense of stability that preceded the crisis in Cyprus. Newly enacted laws introduced a new era of socio-economic norms in Cyprus through the imposition of very harsh special levies on all property owners, companies and sharp decreases in pensions and public sector salaries.
My Laiki bank credit card, that became invalid on 30th September 2014, is used as a direct reference to economic crisis in Cyprus as the issuing bank’s name is directly linked with the collapse of social/economic system in Cyprus. The card image reflects the unsecured stability that preceded the crisis in Cyprus and its catastrophic consequences that followed. I wished the work to have a direct link to Cyprus as a representation of the effects of the actions by the decision making political parties/politicians/financial bodies had on the majority of the Cypriots. Laiki, which in the eyes of Cypriots seemed solid but which was actually rotten, was used as a medium representing the overall collapse of society as we knew it up to then.
This work was made specifically for the show It is the political economy, stupid (10th Oct-6th Dec 2014, Limassol, Cyprus). My research and bibliography was mainly focused on media articles, press announcements by Laiki Bank and legislation. The work is made of a plexi-glass box 80x60x20. On the front of the box I printed the Greek flag made out of images of my bank card. This is a reference to the investment in Greek bonds, this being one of the factors leading to the collapse in Cyprus. The number on the card was replaced by the numbers of the newly enacted laws that were passed by the Cyprus Parliament as a result of the crisis. On the back of the box I printed quotes included in announcements by Laiki Bank aiming to convince customers and potential investors of the bank’s sustainability, eg.:
The bank caters for individuals, small business and large organizations with services in International banking, foreign exchange and treasury, electronic banking, factoring, finance and leasing, insurance, investment and find management. Its international awards, technological leadership, customer-oriented approach and anthropocentric philosophy make Laiki Bank more than a Bank! (Nicosia, Cyprus, 31st January, 2013)
It is noted that the implementation of the Restructuring Plan, which commenced on an operational level in August 2012, is already contributing to the further enhancement of the efficiency and competitiveness of the Bank and with the Bank’s anticipated full recapitalisation, is expected to create conditions for a new era of growth for Laiki Bank Group, that would benefit both the Cyprus Economy and Cyprus as a whole. (Nicosia, Cyprus, 12th March 2013)