Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests

A European Central Bank scheme aimed at easing credit conditions in the eurozone was said to have topped the agenda of talks on Thursday between Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis and Benoit Coeure, a member of the ECB's managing board who is on an official visit to Athens.

The program, due to be launched in September, foresees the purchase of asset-backed securities (ABS) by the regulator. Its aims is to contain low inflation and boost sluggish growth in the eurozone with lenders channeling the new liquidity into the market via businesses.

During their two-hour meeting, Hardouvelis and Coeure also discussed the ECB's stress tests which are expected to take place in October. It is likely that the tests will result in demands for additional capital needs for Greek banks.

After his talks with Hardouvelis, Coeure met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and was subsequently to meet with Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.