Banks offer rate cuts and new products

As banks keep adjusting their savings and loan rates in keeping with the European Central Bank’s recent decision to cut its main intervention rate by 50 basis points (0.50 percent) to 2.75 percent, they also present new savings and investment products to appeal to depositors who have seen returns from savings rates turn negative, after accounting for inflation. Yesterday, it was the turn of Agricultural Bank, Piraeus Bank and Marfin Bank to announce their new rate structure, while the National Bank of Greece presented new guaranteed capital products. Today, the Postal Savings Bank is expected to make its own announcement. The bank, which is now under transformation into a commercial bank and will be eventually privatized, is expected to keep savings rates above 2 percent, that is, slightly higher than almost all other banks. National Bank yesterday presented three guaranteed capital products, which will only be offered from today until next Wednesday. All require a minimum amount of 14,500 euros for participation. The first product, with a duration of six months, is index-linked to the stock market’s FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips and guarantees at least a 5 percent return, with a maximum of 10 percent, on an annualized basis. The second product invests both on FTSE/ASE-20 stocks and bonds, will last three years and guarantees a minimum 6 percent return. The third product, also with a three-year duration, invests in 18 international companies from six different sectors. Minimum guaranteed yield is 1 percent annually. The Agricultural Bank of Greece yesterday announced its new, reduced rates. Savings rates vary, according to the amount in the account, from 0.90 to 1.65 percent. Farmers are offered better rates, ranging from 1.05 to 1.75 percent. Its «Demetra» account for bigger depositors, yields from 1.50 to 2.50 percent. Agricultural’s main loan rate is 6.25 percent. Farmers get a 4.50 percent rate. The consumer loan rate is 9.25 percent, the personal loan rate 9.75 percent and the credit card rate 14.75 percent. Housing loan rates range from 3.70 percent, for a 1-year fixed rate, to 5.50 percent, for a floating rate loan. Contrary to other banks, Piraeus Bank increased its rate for accounts where salaries and pensions are deposited to 2.5 percent.

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