BUSINESS

More banks consider leaving Greece

By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

The flight of foreign credit institutions from Greece is growing to epidemic proportions owing to the prolonged, deep recession and uncertainty regarding an exit from the eurozone.

Sources suggest that the Portuguese owners of Millennium Bank are examining the possibility of selling their local subsidiary, although no interest in it has been expressed as yet.

Going down the same road are the two Cypriot lenders -- Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank -- who are exploring all of their options: From the sale of their activities in Greece, to their legal autonomy, so as to contain the consequences in case of a Greek exit from the eurozone.

Societe Generale of France is also contemplating the possibilities for the sale of its Greek subsidiary, Geniki Bank.

Disengagement from Greece is no easy task, though, given the current situation, as Credit Agricole is finding out in its efforts to rid itself of Emporiki Bank, which it will have to recapitalize first and then sell. National Bank and Eurobank will table their bids for Emporiki by Wednesday, while Alpha has already made its offer.

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