Banks face ‘loan shark’ accusations

Demonstrators gather outside a branch of Eurobank in central Athens yesterday holding signs reading: ‘Watch out, loan sharks!» Leading political and business figures have accused Greek banks of excessively tightening credit conditions and unfairly upping the cost of money in a bid to maintain profit growth as the economy slows. The conservative New Democracy government has proposed a 28-billion-euro plan to provide lenders with a liquidity and capital boost in a package that will also keep money flowing to businesses and households. Apart from state-controlled ATEbank, no other lender has so far come forward to make use of the facility, saying that they have no need of the financial assistance package.