ECONOMY

Greek giants dwarfed

Eight Greek banks appear on the list of the world’s 1,000 largest banks on the basis of Tier One Capital, compiled by the UK magazine The Banker for 2002. The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is in 183rd position, Piraeus Bank is in 233rd, Alpha Bank in 238th, Emporiki in 366th, the Postal Savings Bank in 269th, the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) in 359th, Egnatia in 699th and General Bank in 904th. The Swiss-based European Financial Group (EFG), a member of which is EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Greece’s biggest bank in terms of market capitalization, is in 160th position. The list also includes the three Cyprus-based banks active in Greece: The Bank of Cyprus group is in 361st position, Laiki Bank in 550th and Hellenic Bank in 688th. It seems that Greek banks would have a great uphill struggle to climb to near-100th position; even if the country’s two biggest banks, NBG and Alpha, had succeeded in merging about 18 months ago, the single entity would have still only captured 115th position. But Greek banks’ choices of strategic partners appear successful. Credit Agricole, a partner of Emporiki Bank, appears as the world’s fifth largest bank; Deutsche Bank, which holds a 10 percent interest in EFG Eurobank Ergasias is in 12th position, and the Netherlands’ ING, which recently launched a partnership with Piraeus Bank, is in 22nd. Portugal’s BCP group, which controls a 51 percent interest in NovaBank, holds 112nd position. Citigroup is the world’s largest financial group. In terms of geographical distribution, 285 of the 1,000 banks on the Banker list are based in the European Union, 210 in the USA, 151 in Asia excluding Japan, 114 in Japan, 90 in the rest of Europe, 86 in the Middle East and 37 in Latin America.