Greek banks must find up to 14.4 bn euros after ECB stress test

31st October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Four major Greek banks must find up to 14.4 billion euros ($15.8 billion) to survive potential economic shocks, the European Central Bank said Saturday after they underwent an in-depth financial health check.

The figure was less than anticipated under recapitalisation plans agreed with Greece's partners.

Greece's Alpha Bank, Eurobank, the National Bank of Greece (NBG) and Piraeus Bank were all submitted to a health check by the ECB known as a "comprehensive assessment".

If the economy took a turn for the worse, the banks would have a capital shortfall of up to 14.4 billion euros, the test showed.

The health check comprises an asset quality review and a forward-looking stress test aimed at assessing "the specific recapitalisation needs of the individual banks" under Greece's current economic adjustment programme.

"Overall, the stress test identified a capital shortfall across the four participating banks of 4.4 billion euros under the baseline scenario and 14.4 billion euros under the adverse scenario," the ECB said.

Piraeus was the weakest, with an anticipated shortfall of nearly five billion euros in an adverse scenario.

"The four banks will have to submit capital plans explaining how they intend to cover their shortfalls by November 6," it said.

"This will start a recapitalisation process under the economic adjustment programme that must conclude before the end of the year."

Covering the shortfalls by raising capital would "result in the creation of prudential buffers at the four Greek banks, which will improve the resilience of their balance sheets and their capacity to withstand potential adverse macroeconomic shock," the ECB added.

Weakened after years of recession, Greece's banks took a further battering earlier this year as the government of Alexis Tsipras pushed the country to the brink of a euro exit in a fierce standoff with Berlin and Brussels over terms of the Greece's international bailout.

Finally, an 86-billion-euro bailout was agreed, with 25 billion euros earmarked for the recapitalisation of the four major banks.

On Friday, the Greek government submitted draft legislation to parliament paving the way for the recapitalisation process to begin on Monday.

According to the Greek finance ministry, the banks intend to ask private investors to put up the funds.

But if the private sector response is not sufficient, "the banks will enter into resolution," the ministry said.

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© 2015 AFP

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