The Greek banking system is clearly in a much better position now to absorb any turbulence from international markets than it was four years ago, Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday, commenting on global banking system tensions caused by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the crisis in Credit Suisse.
Speaking in Parliament, Staikouras said that Greek banks have restructured their balance sheets with the use of the “Hercules” programme, whose guarantees will burden the public debt, and presently have single-digit non-performing loans rates. The Greek FinMin noted that in July 2019, NPLs were around 44% of bank portfolios and have since dropped to 8.7% in December 2022. Staikouras said banks have significantly boosted their liquidity through an increase in deposits and by accessing capital markets. “Let us be specific: deposits are up 30% in the last four years, or by 50 billion euros, while access to international markets has strengthened with new issues and capital worth around 12.5 billion euros”. Bank also enjoy capital adequacy rates much higher than the average rate and have returned to profitability after a series of loss-making years.
Staikouras warned, however, that there was no room for complacency. The uncertainties, globally, are many and the challenges are new and major. “The government, in cooperation with supervisory authorities, is monitoring developments and will continue to work towards safeguarding financial stability in the country,” he said.