OPINION

Banks wary of shock tactics

It may not openly admitted but the domestic market has come under intense pressure. A combination of diverse factors and conditions, such as ill-thought-out investments during the bull market years, poor administration, lack of professional management, and a lax regime which coincided with the international crisis have put many firms in a dire economic state that jeopardizes their very survival. Even firms which once stood out for their modern production methods and their position in the global market are experiencing a downturn. In addition, companies in sectors such as insurance, shipping, commerce – most crucially in electronic commodities – but also private businesses are finding it hard to survive and have prompted banks to intervene in order to protect their interests. In many cases, companies have come under pressure by banks to reform their management and take on new shareholders to check their decline. It is uncertain whether this is an effective practice or whether it provides a temporary lull that gives firms some time to exploit any opportunities that may rise from the Third Community Support Framework and the organization of the 2004 Olympics. Nonetheless, many believe that rehabilitating the business market would accelerate an exit from the crisis. But no one is willing to take such aggressive initiatives. Banks fear that a shock adaptation could shake the entire economy and for this reason stipulate more flexibility and a more elastic time frame, deeming that a looser policy of restructuring is favored by low interest rates. The cost of money is not prohibitive, as in previous periods such as the 1980s and hence favors a milder approach, bankers say. And this will most likely be the manner used to handle the current crisis. Only time will tell its effectiveness.