ECONOMY

Bank concentration continues

It appears likely that a solution for Hellenic Postbank (TT) will become apparent at the end of October, as it is tied to the approval of the country?s bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euros that is due to be disbursed then, out of which 24 billion is destined for the recapitalization of the banking system. The period is also likely to be marked by a major shift toward consolidation in the local credit market.

Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos met on Friday with President Karolos Papoulias and expressed support for the acceleration of decision making, noting that he would like to see the procedure become both speedier and more aggressive.

?I am among those who believe that things ought to move faster and more aggressively, but at least things are moving. That, I think, is positive. In the banking sector we have a restructuring of forces, which along with recapitalization that has already started and will be completed later will create a stronger and more efficient banking system,? Provopoulos told Papoulias on camera.

Also on Friday Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the government had managed to prevent job losses at state-controlled lenders in the overhaul of Greece?s banking system and that deposits at Hellenic Postbank are secure.

On Thursday the Athens Exchange stated it had temporarily suspended the trading of TT shares ?because, in a response to a relevant question by the Capital Market Commission, it announced that its annual financial report for 2011 would not be published within the deadline provided.?

Earlier TT had issued a statement announcing that ?the publication of the Annual Economic Report of the Group for 2011 within the deadline is not possible due to exceptionally adverse conditions.?

It appears that developments in the credit sector will start to take shape once France?s Credit Agricole decides on the bids for the acquisition of its Greek subsidiary, Emporiki. A decision is expected by September 15. The winning bid from among those submitted by National, Alpha and Eurobank may well determine the destination of TT, as one of the two bidders to miss out will likely acquire the healthy part of Hellenic Postbank.