ECONOMY

Bank branches being sawn off on daily basis

Domestic banks in Greece are shutting down between two and three branches every working day, as the local credit sector needs to shrink to about half its size before the outbreak of the financial crisis.

From 2010 to 2012, banks reduced their networks by 300 branches and their staff by 5,000 employees. As a result, at the end of 2012 the sector had 3,453 branches in Greece and employed 54,751 people.

However this decline was only the start. According to the restructuring plans for the country’s four systemic banks, their combined networks should decrease by 1,000 branches by the end of 2017, while 13,500 jobs will be lost in the same period – i.e. a 30 percent reduction in branches and a 25 percent drop in staff.

Bank officials tell Kathimerini that the closure rate for branches around the country has ranged between two and three on a daily basis in the last few months as a result of the rapid shrinking of the economy, as well as the rapid concentration of the sector into four major players. This means most branches from banks absorbed by the systemic lenders will have to be shut down if they are close to branches of the same bank.