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Bank of Cyprus chief executive to depart in September

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The chief executive of Cyprus' largest bank said Monday that he will quit his position in September after nearly six years to take up a "commercial opportunity" in the U.K.

John Patrick Hourican, the CEO of Bank of Cyprus, said he leaves the bank in "its strongest capital position in living memory." He led its recovery from near-bankruptcy in 2013 when a banking crisis forced Cyprus to seek a rescue deal from international creditors.

Hourican said an indication of the bank's overall health is its high level of capital buffers and its 4.4 billion euros in excess liquidity. The bank's bad loans have been whittled down from 15 billion euros to 4.8 billion euros over six years.

He cited family matters as a key reason for his departure and said the bank's strong balance sheet is "a good moment" to consider his succession.

"Having spent six years of my life in Cyprus by the time September comes, I'm not sure I can commit much longer than that," said Hourican.

Hourican also oversaw the bank's crackdown on dubious accounts and depositors in a bid to clean up the country's image as a money-laundering haven, especially for Russian clients.

According to the bank's figures, between 2015 and 2017 it closed more than 5,300 suspicious accounts and turned away nearly 3,000 potential new customers who didn't stand up to new anti-money laundering rules. As of the end of 2017, Russian and Ukrainian deposits accounted for 8.34 percent of the bank's total deposits.