Sale of bank subsidiaries in Balkans to prove difficult

Greek banks and the country’s creditors may have agreed in theory on the reduction of local lenders’ presence in Southeast Europe through the sale of their subsidiaries, but many doubt whether this strategy can apply in practice.

Bank officials tell Kathimerini that in the current environment it will be very difficult to find buyers for subsidiaries of Greek lenders in the broader Balkan region.

“Unless conditions change considerably in the coming years, it will be very unlikely to see the sale of our subsidiaries in the neighboring countries,” one source said.

The major European banks that could have been candidate buyers are eager to overcome their own challenges in the context of the eurozone crisis and are not considering mergers and acquisitions. Senior officials at Greek banks remind that the European lenders that departed from the Greek market not only got no money for the sale of their subsidiaries but also funded the buyers with capital to help them deal with future problems.