ECONOMY

In Brief

More banks bring down loan and deposit rates The National Bank of Greece, the country’s largest, said yesterday it is lowering savings deposit and loan rates effective today, after the European Central Bank’s (ECB) rate cut last week. Deposit rates will come down by 35 to 85 basis points and loan rates by 15 to 50 basis points (bps). Savings deposit rates for balances of 3,000 to 10,000 euros will be cut by 65 bps to 0.85 percent. Working capital loans to businesses will carry a variable rate of 6.0 percent after a 25 bps cut. Rates for 60-month consumer loans will be 15 bps lower at 9.25 percent. Variable rates for mortgages remain unchanged at 5.60, but fixed rates are coming down by up to 40 bps. Citibank said savings deposit rates for sums of up to 1,000 euros will now be 0 – in line with National – and staggered to a maximum 1.75 percent for sums over 75,000 euros. Its business loan rate will now be 9 percent and its variable mortgage rate 4.88 percent. EU unhappy with progress in making OAED more efficient European Union officials today are expected to express their strong dissatisfaction at a meeting with representatives the Labor Ministry and the Manpower Organization (OAED) in Athens over delays in the restructuring of the agency, sources said. The development is seen as an indirect warning of a possible suspension of EU funding of OAED if it fails to meet scheduled commitments for restructuring, aimed at promoting the individualized treatment of the jobless. The agency recently decided to hire 489 special employment consultants, but a plan to set up a subsidiary related to this has already been abandoned. OAED is projected to absorb about two-thirds of the relevant 2.5 billion euro budget. Management consulting The UK and Germany account for 54 percent of the total management consulting market in Europe, the turnover of which rose by about 11.5 percent to 45.5 billion euros in 2001, and is projected to rise a further 10 percent this year, the Greek Management Consulting Association (SESMA) said in Thessaloniki. The Greek market rose 14.6 percent to 149 million euros last year, representing only 0.30 percent of European turnover. It is estimated to grow 11 percent in 2002, and projected to accelerate to 23-24 percent next year as EU-subsidized projects gather speed. Russia achieved the highest growth rate in management consulting services last year, 61 percent. In Greece, 38 percent of turnover is accounted for by operations management departments, 27 percent by information technology sections and 26 percent by the strategy and planning services of firms. There are 140 registered firms in the country with about 1,550 consultants. Private banking Alpha Bank considers conditions favorable for an expansion of private banking operations in Greece. According to figures presented in London yesterday, there are about 240,000 potential such clients in Greece, with financial assets totaling 40 billion euros. In particular, about 40,000 people are estimated to have average portfolios of 500,000 euros and another 200,000 with average portfolios of 100,000 euros. TVX Hellas The Supreme Court has ruled against ministerial decisions allowing TVX Hellas to conduct mining operations under the village of Stratoniki in Halkidiki, Macedonia.