More foreign banks come to Athens
Major players in the global credit sector are planning to open branches in the Greek capital
Big global banks are planning to open branches in Athens next year, while other lenders are expanding their existing banking activity in Greece as the investment prospects of the local economy, given the Next Generation EU fund and Brexit, have rekindled the international credit sector’s interest in the country.
As a result the prospects of the local banking landscape for 2022 appear to be richer and more competitive, which is important to Greek credit institutions too.
Government and credit sector sources say at least six foreign banks are opening branches in the Greek capital or considering the idea, and another two are expanding their involvement in the country.
Goldman Sachs, which has long had a presence in the Greek market, has decided to take the next step of opening a full branch in Athens in the first quarter of 2022, to serve Eastern Europe in general. It will focus first on investment banking, but private banking and asset management may soon follow.
JP Morgan has already had an Athens branch since June, and its investment banking activity is to expand in 2022, with private banking set to follow. Its plan for the acquisition of Viva Wallet, if implemented, will lead to further initiatives by the US giant in Greece.
Deutsche Bank has also been established in Athens, and “it intends to expand further its existing relations in Greece and explore new expansion option,” its officials have told Kathimerini.
Another foreign bank to open a branch in Athens, serving the broader region, will likely be Bank of America. The investment lender is examining its entry into Greece, and its recent estimate about 8.6% growth in the local economy may not be a coincidence.
Japan’s Nomura, which has had a significant presence in Greek state debt issues, is examining the idea of opening a branch in Athens.
A major French bank is also interested, as is a bank from Sweden and one from Bulgaria. The Commercial Bank of China has just opened a representation office in the Greek capital.