ECONOMY

Up to 380 foreign institutions interested in providing remote banking services in Greece

Over the last seven months 12 more European banks have contacted the Bank of Greece to express an interest in providing distance payments and financial services, without a physical presence in the country, bringing the total number to 380.

As the number of banks that operate branches in the country has shrunk in recent years due to mergers and acquisitions, the number of those wishing to provide remote services has increased by 15-20 percent, with most of these being based in the UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands and other members of the European Economic Area.

They provide a wide range of remote banking services but their representatives may occasionally visit the country to promote business or they may keep representative bureaus in the country. The development would not have been possible to the present degree without the spectacular growth of Internet and mobile banking.

While applications are made to the Bank of Greece, the remote banks are not subject to its overseeing role but rather to the authorities of the countries in which they are based. They can conduct their business according to legislation in their home countries as long as they do not violate provisions designed to protect Greek residents.