ECONOMY

Greeks indifferent on Emporiki

The Greek public is indifferent to who will acquire Emporiki Bank, believing that the privatization of banks simply helps with the reduction of deficits instead of the growth of this country’s economy, a survey conducted for Kathimerini between June 28 and 30 among 300 respondents has found. On the contrary, most people support the buyout of Turkey’s Finansbank by National Bank of Greece, estimating that this will help the Greek economy, according to the survey conducted by TNS ICAP last week. Findings show a split on Emporiki, with 34 percent saying they agree with the sale and 38 percent disagreeing. Another 28 percent responded that it did not know. Notably, men agree to the sale much more than women (41 percent against 27 percent). Among those who mainly trade with private banks, the agreement rate reaches 40 percent, but falls to 27 percent among those mainly doing business with state banks. More than half of respondents (52 percent) said they are not at all interested in whether Emporiki is be sold or to whom. Just 14 percent said they are very interested and follow developments, while 34 percent showed limited interest. Crucially, 60 percent of those polled believe that the privatization of Emporiki will increase competition, benefiting them as bank clients. Most Greeks are not well informed about the bank’s privatization, with 34 percent saying they had heard nothing about the bank’s sale and another 14 percent citing another bank. Regarding the decision by NBG to expand into Turkey, 28 percent of respondents voiced their complete agreement and 26 percent said they partly agreed, for a total of 54 percent who felt positive about the move. But 37 percent of those polled disagreed with the bank’s action. Responses vary considerably depending on whether those polled do business with state or private banks: To the question of whether bank privatization will mean a loss of control of the Greek economy, 41 percent said they agreed completely or partly, against 49 percent who disagreed. Yet those who mainly trade with state banks agreed by 55 percent that control will be lost as banks are privatized. The majority of respondents (54 percent) agreed that recent banking developments will assist the Greek economy. Nevertheless, 52 percent of people believe that the privatization of banks will not help the growth of the country’s economy, but only reduce deficits. Five in eight people (62 percent) think that the ever greater presence of private banks has benefited public trade, either considerably (29 percent) or partly (33 percent).