NBG deputy chief: Greek banks ‘victims’ of stress test delay

Greek banks’ ability to lend and make plans is being hampered by a long-running row between their government and the country’s international lenders over how much more money they need, the deputy chief executive of the country’s largest bank said on Wednesday.

National Bank of Greece’s Petros Christodoulou told Reuters in an interview that delaying lending may stymie an expected tentative return to growth in 2014.

“Banking is the heart of the economy and if the heart does not supply liquidity to the Greek economy the latter will falter,” he said.

Banks were relying on media reports for clues on the results of stress tests that were completed late last year and due to be published in December, National’s deputy chief executive said.

Those reports put capital demand anywhere between 4.5 billion euros, reportedly suggested by stress test consultants BlackRock, and the 15 billion euros reportedly mooted by the International Monetary Fund, Christodoulou said.

“To the extent that we do not know the results from the BlackRock tests, the Greek banks and the Greek economy are the victims,” he added.