ATHENS Feb 6 Greece's largest lender, National
Bank (NBG), plans to make 3 billion euros ($4 billion)
worth of corporate loans this year to support businesses and
assist the economy's recovery, its chief executive said on
That represents a substantial increase over the almost 1
billion euros of total loans the bank made in the first nine
months of 2013. Lending figures for the full year are not yet
With bank credit to the private sector in decline since
2011, aggravating Greece's six-year economic slump, prospects of
a mild economic recovery this year will largely depend on new
"Investments will shape the country's long-term growth
potential and how fast labour market conditions will improve,"
the bank's Chief Executive Alexandros Tourkolias told business
people in the city of Kavala, in northern Greece.
Greek banks, burdened by bad loans and a shrunken deposit
base, will not be able to sharply expand credit in the short
term, the country's central bank chief said last month. Firms
also need to look to capital markets to plug their funding
December data showed that bank credit to Greece's private
sector shrank at a much sharper pace than in the rest of the
euro zone, down by 3.9 percent versus 2.3 percent in the single
The central bank has said bank lending must support
export-oriented firms and avoid trends in the last decade, when
a large part of available credit financed consumption and
Greece's 183 billion euro economy is expected to pull out of
recession this year, with the government projecting national
output will expand by 0.6 percent.
"Healthy entrepreneurship, investments and a transition to
sustainable production will be the catalysts to exit the
crisis," Tourkolias said.
($1 = 0.7390 euros)
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Erica