Greek banks may need more recap funds -paper

ATHENS Tue Jan 8, 2013 3:28am EST

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ATHENS Jan 8 (Reuters) - Greece's four largest lenders may need more recapitalisation funds than the sum earmarked by the central bank because of rising loan impairments, daily Kathimerini newspaper reported on Tuesday.

In late December, the Bank of Greece said the four systemically important banks - National, Eurobank , Alpha and Piraeus - needed 27.5 billion euros in fresh capital to bolster weak solvency ratios.

Battered by the country's debt crisis and a protracted recession, banks suffered heavy losses from a sovereign debt swap in March last year while their loan portfolios continue to be pounded by rising credit impairments.

Citing unnamed bankers, the paper said banks may ask for the recapitalisation funds to be topped up to 30 billion euros to deal with the rise in non-performing loans and foregone interest income after taking part in a sovereign debt buyback.

The Bank of Greece declined to comment on the report.

Greece and its international lenders have earmarked 50 billion euros from the country's 130 billion euro bailout to recapitalise the four systemically important banks and wind down others deemed not viable.

In its report in December, the central bank said the 50 billion euro financial envelope earmarked to recapitalise and resolve non-viable banks over the 2012-14 period was adequate. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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