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Banks are open, there are no huge queues

20 July 2015 / 13:07:13  GRReporter
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After a three-week bank holiday that began with the imposition of capital controls, Greek banks are now open. Their operation is however limited to only the implementation of specific functions which the Ministry of Finance has strictly defined in a statutory order.

In particular, the limit of 60 euro per day remains in force but citizens will have the opportunity to withdraw up to 420 euro from counters and ATMs at the end of each week. However, if they fail to do so, they will lose the right to receive the amount.

With regard to companies, the order provides for cashing cheques and payments on bank guarantees, but only by paying the amounts in bank accounts in order to avoid capital run from banks.

In an interview with the Greek Mega TV, president of the National Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Bank Association Louka Katseli said that this week in particular (20-24 July), depositors could withdraw 60 euro per day and up to 300 euro at the end of week whereas the rule of 420 per week would apply each subsequent week.

With regard to safes, she said that citizens would have free access to them, but only after a pre-arranging the time with the bank branch. According to Katseli, the measure is introduced with a view to avoid the queues outside the branches where a large number of citizens are keeping money and valuables in safes.

At the same time, banks will not be able to open new bank accounts, add co-holders and activate "idle" accounts. Louka Katseli explained that exceptions for opening new accounts would be allowed only in specific cases, such as payments of salaries or debts to the state, as well as of new pensions and social benefits, and for the needs of start-up companies and enterprises.

Loan servicing provides for making due payments through a bank account, but not the payments of higher amounts or total repayments.

According to Louka Katseli, "bank liquidity is guaranteed and certified by the European Central Bank at regular intervals." She however added that "the available liquidity in the system depends on us."

"If over 40 billion euro had been not withdrawn from banks over the past few months and had remained in them, we would not have had liquidity problems," she said, urging citizens to return their money to banks:

"If we, as Greeks, want to secure financial stability, economic recovery and emerging from the crisis, we must do what is necessary, namely to trust banks, leave our money in them or take it out from crates and homes where it is not safe and to deposit it in banks, thus activating the economy of the country."

It is worth noting that the order allows Greek citizens to import money from abroad, even if it is to be re-exported. The procedure in this case is the following: the money must be transferred to a Greek bank account and then to a bank account abroad.

Transferring abroad securities acquired after the beginning of the bank holiday with the purpose of safe custody and transferring securities that are traded on regulated markets is banned too.

Tags: EconomyBanks openedLimit of 60 euro per dayAccess to safes
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