ECONOMY

Alpha staff say they can do better alone

While uncertainties continue to linger over whether the proposed merger of National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank will actually come to fruition, the employees’ union of the latter yesterday suggested that the bank would not only survive on its own but would thrive better. «Now we can do even better on our own,» the union said in a statement yesterday, diverging from Alpha governor Yiannis Costopoulos who had said the bank could achieve more by integrating with NBG instead of operating alone. It also insisted that the merger should be viewed as a union of equals and that the integrated bank function in line with free market principles. In contrast, the organizational scheme unveiled on December 20 stressed the fact that NBG is the larger of the two banks, with two thirds of the managerial responsibilities allocated to NBG and the remaining one third to Alpha executives. The union also launched a stinging attack on the Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) for intervening in the issue. OTOE on Wednesday urged the two banks to stick to the agreed deal on the division of management responsibilities or it would withdraw its support for the merger. It said the deal could not be viewed as a merger of equals considering the banks’ actual dimensions. The umbrella body also found fault with the reported decision by the banks to scrap the agreement and start negotiations from scratch again. Alpha’s employee union said OTOE’s intercession has no authority and foundation. In the meantime, NBG and Alpha stocks made a strong recovery yesterday, notching up gains of 2.62 percent and 4.83 percent respectively. Both shares lost more than 3 percent of their value on Monday as investors reacted negatively to the crisis which came to light over the weekend. The banks’ rally also shored up the bank sub-index and the general share index, up by 3.1 percent and 2.38 percent respectively.