ECONOMY

NBG head: Banks ‘will turn private sooner’

Local banks will soon revert to being exclusively private sooner than originally expected, National Bank of Greece President Giorgos Zannias estimated at an event organized on Thursday in Athens by the Capital Market Commission.

Zannias highlighted the strong investment interest in the domestic banking sector as well as the expectations being generated by the considerable progress of the local economy. The NBG head also referred to the strong capital base that banks currently enjoy, stating that they have considerable capital “cushions” that will enable them to face the challenges ahead.

Also speaking at the event, titled “The Hellenic Capital Market and the Credit System at the Turning Point of the Crisis,” was NBG Chief Executive Alexandros Tourkolias, who described the consequences of the six-year recession while expressing optimism for the future. Referring to the Greek banking system, he noted that conditions will improve.

The president of Athens Exchanges, Sokratis Lazaridis, stated that the stock market and banks should not be competing with one another as sources for drawing capital. He also noted the need for a change to the ratios of loans to assets and of risk to returns for Greek enterprises.

For his part, the general secretary of the Hellenic Bank Association, Christos Gortsos, cited the high cost of money due to the deterioration in liquidity conditions in recent years. The head of the Capital Market Commission, Costas Botopoulos, referred to the changes in the European banking system and the challenges that the prospect of a banking union in the European Union is creating.