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Greek banks unable to pull their capital out of Macedonia

14 June 2015 / 17:06:32  GRReporter
2960 reads

Greek banks in Macedonia have no legal opportunity to withdraw their founding capital from the country, the central bank governor, Dimitar Bogov, said in an interview. "They can simply sell their shares to another investor," he added.

As Bloomberg pointed out, Greek banks will have to deal with an unstable political situation in Skopje. Early parliamentary elections were scheduled because of the worst political crisis in the last 10 years. According to the Central Bank, Greek subsidiary banks hold about 22% of banking assets in Macedonia.

"I do not expect a bank panic in case of Grexit", said Bogov. "This is reminiscent of the situation back in 2012, when this possibility was mentioned for the first time, but we explained to depositors that their money was safe. There might be some panic initially this time, but then things will settle down," he added.

Dmitri Barinov, who manages $2.6 billion in Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH in Frankfurt, argues that if the central banker of Macedonia is trying to prevent bank runs, it means "we should be that bit more nervous." "Countries with a strong presence of Greek banks like Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia are facing the most critical situation", Barinov said.

As the Athens News Agency reports, the Governor of Macedonia’s Central Bank maintained that the national banking system is secure and won't be facing any risks in case of Grexit.

According to the same publication, there are two banks with Greek capital in Macedonia: Economic Bank, the largest and most profitable bank in the country, is a member of the National Bank of Greece group; the second one, Alpha Bank, is a member of the eponymous Greek group and is an average-size institution in Macedonia.

Dimitar Bogov recently argued that both banks are stable and have sufficient liquidity to smoothly finance their business.

He also added that the two banks are independent vis-a-vis developments in their parent banks in Greece.

There are a total of 16 banks in Macedonia, 12 of which hold predominantly foreign capital. Apart from the two Greek banks, among them are NLB-Tutunska Bank (a subsidiary of the Slovenian NLB), Ochrid Bank (a subsidiary of Societe Generale), the Turkish Halk Bank, the Austrian Sparkasse Bank, etc.

Tags: Macedonia Greek banks Grexit Dimitar Bogov
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