ECONOMY

National Bank top brass optimistic on economy, stress tests

Top National Bank of Greece officials expressed optimism on Friday that the country will emerge from the financial crisis and certainty that Greek banks will grow stronger following the European stress tests.

Addressing an NBG event in Thessaloniki, Chairman Giorgos Zannias said, “The economic climate now is better than it has been over the last few years, major projects have started, tourism is beating one record after another, the labor market is stabilizing and retail sales have reverted to positive territory.”

He expressed his belief that the country now needs stability more than anything else so as to contain the biggest problem, unemployment. “The most important thing is to avert the uncertainty that ate into the economy in recent years and deserves most of the blame for the huge recession,” said Zannias.

Chief Executive Alexandros Tourkolias proposed the creation of a national memorandum whose content will safeguard the necessary stability of the economy and shield it from new dangers now that the bailout agreement with the country’s creditors is nearing an end.

On the stress tests by the European Central Bank, Tourkolias said that domestic banks will benefit from the exercise: “No matter what problems are identified, the measures taken to rectify them will see Greek banks emerge stronger from the process,” he stated, adding that after the test no one will ever be able to dispute the quality of the Greek credit system again.