Keeping politics out of the bank

National Bank of Greece is the country?s biggest and most prestigious credit institution. For many years it suffered from being too tightly embraced by Greece?s political parties and the state.

Under the presidency of its late governor Theodoros Karatzas, the bank entered a new era, operating according to international standards while its managers were a match for the private sector both at home and abroad.

However, the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou made the mistake of removing a successful administration. But at least, in keeping with the Karatzas tradition, it subsequently avoided making purely politically motivated appointments, hiring a skilled technocratic duo instead.

The new conservative government must not repeat PASOK?s blunder. Institutions must be protected, even more so at this crucial time for the country and the banking system. A rushed decision would take the country many years back and raise justified questions about the administration?s ulterior motives.

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