ATHENS, July 19 Any capital shortfalls that the
European Central Bank finds this fall at Greece's four big banks
will be manageable, the head of the country's bank bailout fund
told Sunday's Kathimerini newspaper in an interview.
The ECB is conducting regional stress tests to review the
asset valuations of the euro zone's 128 most important lenders
and assess their ability to withstand future crises. National
Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank, Eurobank
Ergasias and Alpha Bank will be part of the
The results of the stress test will be published in the
second half of October, before the ECB takes on bank supervision
on Nov. 4.
"Even if some additional capital needs arise (in the ECB
stress test), I believe they will be manageable," Anastasia
Sakellariou, chief executive of bank rescue fund HFSF, told the
The four banks, which control about 90 percent of the
industry, were bailed out by the European Union and
International Monetary Fund, which set aside 50 billion euros
($68 billion) in bank rescue fund HFSF to clean up the sector
after its battering in the country's sovereign debt crisis.
The four banks have already been through two rounds of
recapitalisation after two stress tests by the Bank of Greece,
the country's central bank. National, Piraeus and Alpha are
majority-owned by the HFSF rescue fund.
The HFSF pumped 25.5 billion euros into the four banks and
spent another 14.4 billion euros to wind down others deemed
non-viable. It has a remaining cushion of 11.5 billion euros.
"The economic crisis gave birth to a new but stabler banking
system," Sakellariou told the paper, without forecasting how
much extra capital the banks may need after the ECB's scrutiny.
Greece's banking sector is troubled by a mountain of
impaired loans after six years of deep recession and austerity
policies that led to cuts in pay, record unemployment and an
increased tax burden.
Non-performing loans reached 77 billion euros, or 33.5
percent of bank loan books at the end of the first quarter,
forcing banks to continue to make provisions for bad debt.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)