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Plan for supporting the Greek banks was asked for from the EU

17 November 2008 / 23:11:57  GRReporter
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A rebuke letter regarding the economics and capital base reinforcement plan was sent from Brussels to the Greek ministry of economy. The European Union disagrees with the condition enforcing banks to utilize all three parts of the plan and expects changes to take place in order for its application to become available. The three components of the plan are: strengthening of the capital base through stock issuing, state guaranty over stocks issued by the banks and their capital reinforcement by the state.

According to the EU remarks, the state will be able to appoint representatives in the banks’ administrative councils, provided that they raise the stock capital through issuing of privileged stocks for their capital reinforcement. The plan foresees that the state representative has the right of veto over all kinds of decisions regarding bonuses for the administrative council members, as well as for the chief executives and their deputies. Moreover, the state’s participation in banks’ work means restrictions in the rewards for the top employees, which cannot exceed the one of the CEO of the Bank of Greece. This creates certain tension in the bank-state negotiations.

The plan will not be ready for voting in the Parliament before the end of next week. This means that banks in Greece will not be able to benefit from the regulations before the end of the month, when the necessary ministry decisions will also be issued. In comparison, in the other European countries credit companies have already started issuing stocks in accordance with the respective bank systems support plans.

Alpha Bank has also decided to take part in the bank-support plan, employing all measures, thus clearing a path for the other banks since it is going to be the first one to apply the governmental plan. “The plan is in favor of economics and whatever is good for economics is good for banks,” says in an interview for “Katimerini” Alpha Bank’s president, Yannis Kostopoulos. “Here in Greece we need to get in touch with what’s going on in the world, as well; It is impossible to have colossi in the USA and Europe that imply the respective measures for capital reinforcement, while in Greece we keep delving.”

To the question if the hearing about a possible merger between Alpha Bank and The National Bank of Greece is correct, Mr. Kostopoulos responded that “there is no such thing”, stressing on the fact that no cooperation with Marfin is also discussed. On the subject of interest rates decrease, he added that “in relation to their current level, it is clear that they will decrease. But do not expect them to reach the levels of the beginning of 2008.”



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