Greek banks trim ECB borrowing

Local lenders reduced their borrowings from the European Central Bank (ECB) in January to 94.4 billion euros, according to data released by the Bank of Greece.

In December, Greek banks had borrowed 97.7 billion euros as part of a continuing emergency lifeline the ECB extended to Greek and other banks in Europe facing liquidity squeezes.

Greece?s four major lenders – National Bank, EFG Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank – have all been under pressure to reduce their dependence on ECB liquidity.

Earlier this month, the lenders are believed to have presented plans to reduce their dependence on funding from the ECB to the Greek central bank and the ?troika? ? experts from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and ECB.

Job cuts, further reductions in lending, disposals of non-core assets such as tourist hotels and the sale of profitable banking networks in south-east Europe are among measures that could help boost domestic liquidity, according to Athens bankers.