Board members of the National Bank of Greece
At a general meeting, full of emotions, the chairman of the National Bank of Greece Vassilis Rapanos and CEO Apostolos Tamvakakis retired from the bank's management.
Both of them gave information regarding, and discussed, all matters related to the bank with the new chairman and CEO of the National Bank Alexandros Tourkolias. Furthermore, they met with all staff and collaborators they have worked with over the past 2 and half years and thanked them for their effective work and team spirit.
Tamvakakis’ speech before the general meeting was full of emotion and especially at the end, when with regard to Rapanos he said that "at all times he was an exemplary chairman of the National Bank’s board." Later on he continued: "Vassilis and I have known each other for many years, since the time when he was a chairman at the National Mortgage Bank of Greece, and I was a deputy President. We are like brothers. I respect him deeply, and our cooperation over the years has been particularly constructive. Together we planned, together we met all the difficulties, challenges and troubles. Vassilis Rapanos is a man who with his personality gives meaning to concepts such as honesty, modesty, dignity, morality, scientific thought. I thank him publicly for our long-term cooperation."
Tamvakakis talked about his career and mentioned that throughout his life he has been connected with the National Bank of Greece for many years – he has worked there for seven and a half years as deputy President and two and a half years as CEO.
After the end of the general meeting at which Tamvakakis submitted his resignation, he analyzed in detail the strategy followed by the bank’s management over the past two and a half years. As he noted during this period:
- The capital adequacy of the National Bank of Greece was well protected with 3.5 billion Euros, at a time when markets were closed for the country.
- The amount of provisions amounted to 5.3 billion Euros, whereas previously they were only 1.4 billion Euros.
- The operational efficiency of the bank increased and hence its flexibility. On one hand the profit before provisions was retained at high levels and on the other operating costs were reduced.
- Viable customers and firms and households troubled by the crisis were fully supported, with full transparency only through the bank’s criteria and without favouring anybody.
- The country's efforts to reduce debt were supported with the bank's voluntary participation in the programme for bond exchange (PSI), during which it registered losses amounting to 12.3 billion Euros, only for the fiscal 2011.
- Operating costs were limited by 300 million Euros, while at the same time a relaxed work environment was provided without negative reactions from the employees, whose loyalty to the bank is unique and the quality of their work is high.
- The bank’s presence outside Greece was secured and it was not influenced by any internal problems. The necessary steps were taken in order for the network abroad to become independent, viable and profitable over time.
- Hitherto nonexistent institutions in the Greek financial system were created such as the Adviser to the Client and Committees both within the Board and within the pyramid of the bank, which are working extremely well and efficiently, such as for example in the area of the Commission's strategies. At the same time the corporate management of the bank was improved, as it becomes clear from the latest assessment of the management board.
Tamvakakis spoke specifically also about the need for bank mergers, because according to him local banks should become more competitive.
"I have repeatedly argued, not only theoretically but also with actions about the merger of banks", stressed Tamvakakis, explaining that "if those mergers had been completed on time and boldly, the results would have been significant". Mergers of banks continue to be important in today's conditions as well, because this will reduce the required capital needs, banks will become more competitive and more useful for the Greek economy, added Tamvakakis.
According to sources from the bank, in his speech before the Board Tamvakakis mentioned the efforts made towards restructuring the banking system, based at the National Bank of Greece.
"It goes without saying that, especially in today's difficult conditions, when the crisis in Europe and worldwide is growing like an avalanche, Greek banks have to move forward towards those structural changes that can protect them in tomorrow's violent environment,” stressed Tamvakakis. "Even today we are looking into and considering all alternatives for cooperation between the National Bank of Greece and banks in Greece and abroad", ended Tamvakakis. The markets perceived this statement as a response to the question that remains unresolved concerning the possible cooperation with Emporiki Bank and its parent bank Credit Agricole.