BoG urges bank transparency

The Bank of Greece yesterday tightened the screws for commercial banks which do not observe the new stricter regulations for the prevention of money laundering and follow transparency procedures in granting credit. The central bank upped the ceiling for fines on banks found to have neglected or not to have fully applied the new requirements (mainly certification of customers’ data) from -8.8 million to -20 million. The same penalties will apply for failing to provide full information to customers and to ensure transparent procedures in the issuance of loans and credit cards. The penalties may be imposed in combination with other administrative and corrective measures. «The readjustment of the penalty ceilings aims at their harmonization with the highest limits that the Bank of Greece can impose according to existing legislation regarding violations in the provision of investment services (Law 3606 of 2007),» BoG said. Separately, the Bank of Greece set new criteria for banks planning to extend their branch networks, either in Greece or abroad, which will take into account how such plans will affect their creditworthiness or their non-performing loan ratios. It also reviewed the rules concerning banks’ acquisition of stakes of more than 10 percent in other financial institutions.