Greek and Turkish banks forged closer ties at yesterday’s international conference in Athens, which included representatives of several banks from both countries. The event was organized by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), Alpha Bank and Turkiye Is Bankasi in cooperation with the Hellenic and Turkish bank associations, 12 years after their initial contact. «Our countries’ banks are active in an ever more competitive environment of credit services. We face many common challenges and with our meeting we have laid the groundwork for building common efforts that may play a crucial role toward promoting our interests as well as the further development of important trade and financial relations between our countries,» said Yiannis Costopoulos, president of Alpha Bank and member of the IIF’s board. Hellenic Banks Association and National Bank of Greece president Takis Arapoglou took up the prospects of genuine dialogue between the two associations on banking issues facing Southeastern Europe. The next meeting of the associations is scheduled for this October in Istanbul. Ersin Ozince, vice president and CEO of Turkiye Is Bankasi, said that yesterday’s conference «gave us an excellent opportunity to exchange views for a common approach on issues of cooperation and regional development, and to share the experiences of our Greek counterparts on our country’s accession process to the EU.» Opening the event, IIF’s managing director, Charles Dallara, noted the growing challenges in the international financial environment, specifically referring to the ongoing interest rate rises in the US. He added that the current imbalances at the global level cannot continue and asserted that oil prices are placing a heavy burden on world economy. Sir John Bond, HSBC Holdings Plc president, analyzed the challenges currently facing the international banking system. Special reference was made to the new regulatory framework of Basel II, as well as retail banking issues and mergers and acquisitions in the international credit service market.