ECONOMY

In Brief

Curbs on consumer and personal loans lifted today Ceilings on consumer and personal loans are to be lifted today, in line with a recent decision by the Bank of Greece. The measure will permit bank clients to borrow according to their ability to repay, assessed with the use of the electronic Teiresias credit-rating system on an individual basis. Effective application of the system, however, is seen as needing at least two years – the time estimated as required for banks to collect enough data. The large majority of borrowers, therefore, are projected to continue facing roughly the existing ceilings and, in the short run, it is only borrowers with proof of high income who will be favorably affected by the abolition of the ceilings, which are 25,000 euros for consumer loans, 3,000 euros for personal loans and 1,500 euros for overdrafts. Finance Ministry to bring back proof of how personal assets are acquired Owners of objects or real estate of great value have about 40 days more to site private loans of any kind without obligation to specify, and be exempted from having to furnish proof of the origin of funds, according to Finance Ministry sources who said the government plans to table an amendment by the end of July. The provision in force, which is to be abolished as part of efforts to curb money laundering, was introduced a year ago to encourage the repatriation of funds. The sources said the effective waiver will continue to apply for funds planned for investment in enterprises. OA Olympic Airways pilots yesterday reiterated their desire to contribute to the reconstitution of the airline as a viable concern, including pay cuts that would reduce operating costs. Their union said in a statement, however, that it is not willing to accept an overrun of their labor rights and urged the government to engage in sincere and fruitful dialogue for a scheme to satisfy all sides. By contrast, OA’s other staff unions decided yesterday to reject the government’s plans, which envisage the launching of a much smaller New Olympic Airways, with considerably reduced staff and divested of most of its assets but clean of debts. 3G Mobile phone operator CosmOTE, Greece’s biggest, has picked Ericsson to develop the first phase of its third-generation (3G) network by the end of 2004, estimated to cost 35 million euros. The plan envisages certain 3G services to be ready in time for the 2004 Olympics. Bank training Egnatia Bank will be the American Bankers’ Association’s (ABA) representative in Greece for its banking training programs, a statement said. Training programs will be launched in the autumn, at the premises of the ICBS educational organization in Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa. Young savers Alpha Bank announced a new series of special products and services for children, teenagers and young people, «Alpha 1 2 3,» including bank accounts with bonuses to encourage savings, long-term assurance and student loan programs (see www.alpha1-2-3.gr) ADSL Internet providers OTEnet and ACN yesterday announced the launch of high-speed ADSL packages.