Cyprus banks re-open; limits on transactions

Banks in Cyprus have reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks.

A shop owner, left, sits outside his shop at Lydra street a major shopping area in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Banks on this island nation have already been shut for a week. People have access to some cash through ATMs and can use debit and credit cards, but the needs of commerce are far more complicated. Businesses can't pay suppliers, fill stock orders or pay their employees' wages. (AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- Banks in Cyprus have reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks, with customers now able to access their accounts, albeit with strict restrictions on transactions.

Large lines had formed outside some bank branches, particularly those of Laiki, which is to be restructured, before they opened at noon Thursday. Some Laiki branches in central Nicosia had not opened exactly on time, with customers waiting patiently outside.

Banks have been shut since March 16 while politicians wrangled over how to come up with enough funds to qualify for an international bailout. That agreement was finally reached in Brussels early Monday.

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