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Second life for Greek banks

30 May 2014 / 14:05:56  GRReporter
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The banking circles of Greece have recently stirred up since the Board of Directors of Eurobank has welcomed its new majority owner, Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings and its director Prem Watsa, Alpha Bank replaced its head after nearly 20 years of governing by Yiannis Kostopoulos and the National Bank of Greece has reported significant profits for the third consecutive year.
    "Our goal is for Eurobank to become profitable again, and its management can achieve better results than expected and transform the financial institution into the first successful example of economic recovery in Greece," said Prem Watsa during his meeting with the management of Eurobank. He emphasized that their investments in Greece are long-term and that their aim is not only to boost the banking sector, which was severely shaken by the crisis, but also to establish in the country a new model of lending to businesses.
    Prem Watsa announced that Fairfax Financial Holdings would have its representatives in Eurobank Board of Directors. At the meeting, which was attended by 300 employees of the financial institution, CEO Christos Magalou defined as success attracting Fairfax Financial Holdings and Prem Watsa in person in the composition of the bank. "We hope they will be constantly with us so as to learn from their unique global experience. We will do our best to meet our commitments and stick to the agreed schedule," were his words.

    The other big banking news in recent days came from Alpha Bank’s management. Yiannis Kostopoulos, the man who was its Executive Director from 1996 to 2005 and president from 2005 to 2014, withdrew from its management. His place is taken by former president of the National Bank of Greece Vassilis Rapanos. 76-year-old Kostopoulos has hugely contributed towards establishing the bank as one of the most solid financial institutions in Greece. Banking circles comment that his resignation is a sure sign that the economic tornado over Greek banks has already passed.

    The report of the National Bank of Greece is optimistic too, as it has just recorded a profit of 181 million euro for the first quarter of 2014 alone. By comparison, the profit for the same period last year was 27 million euro. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of rising profits for the institution.

Tags: Eurobank Alpha Bank Fairfax Financial HoldingsNational Bank of GreecePrem WatsaYiannis KostopoulosVassilis RapanosGreek Banks
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