BUSINESS

Banks to find out within April how they have fared in stress tests

YIANNIS PAPADOYIANNIS

TAGS: Banking

Greece’s systemic banks will on Tuesday submit the final set of data to the European Central Bank, completing the process of filing information for the third stress test conducted in the last few years. Although concerns about unpleasant surprises have resurfaced in recent weeks, the managers of National Bank, Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank remain calm and optimistic, and their general view is that there will be no shocks for the market.

The managements of the lenders should have a clear picture of the test results by mid-April. According to the process, each bank’s administration will be informed about any capital requirements to emerge for the lender and the timetable for covering them, so that they can prepare their strategy and action plan to have ready by the time the test results are officially released, in early May.

The stocks of Greece’s systemic banks are currently trading at prices well below those of the last recapitalization in 2015, factoring in investors’ concerns about the possibility of share capital increases. Since early February the Athens Exchange banks index has recorded losses in excess of 20 percent.

Most analysts appear optimistic, estimating that all four main lenders will survive the adverse scenario of the test. They believe that if any bank does show a low capital adequacy index reading, the share capital increase it will have to implement will be relatively small and over a long period of time, thus coming as no shock to the market.

Similarly, senior bank officials are expressing reserved optimism, noting that local lenders are stronger than in previous years when tests have taken place, while the macroeconomic parameters of the tests are also considerably milder than those used in 2015.

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