Greek banks return to profitability

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Greek banks return to profitabilityGreek banks are returning to profitability and are ready to contribute as the Greek economy is moving forward to support healthy business activity and in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises, the chief executives of the country's systemic b

Greek banks are returning to profitability and are ready to contribute as the Greek economy is moving forward to support healthy business activity and in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises, the chief executives of the country's systemic banks told ANA-MPA on Monday.

Stavros Lekkakos, chief executive of Piraeus Bank, said that an agreement between the government and the institutions came at a crucial time for the country. "It is our belief that a stabilization in international economic climate, combined with low energy prices and low interest rates and measures to boost liquidity in the market, offered an opportunity and a respite for the Greek economy in order to take advantage of the situation and to gradually recover after a prolonged recession," Lekkakos said, adding that "especially, after the decisions of a recent Eurogroup meeting and the completion of a review, economic environment in Greece is expected to improve substantially allowing the country to turn a page".

Referring to the banking system, Lekkakos stressed that "stepping on a stable economic environment and a stable political environment, banks have now the preconditions to contribute in economic growth".

He said that the banking sector was moving towards profitability this year, while referring to the non-performing loans issue he noted that Piraeus Bank recorded a decline in bad loans in the first quarter of 2016, for the first time since the crisis began. "In 2015, from the 10 billion euros of business loans in the restructuring sector of the bank, more than 8.0 billion were business in operation and 5.0 billion of them were businesses with operating earnings in 2015. It is obvious that we do not manage lost cases, but Greek businesses hiding significant values which are trying to find their footing and balance after the crisis," Lekkakos said.

Leonidas Fragiadakis, chief executive of National Bank, said that "after seven years of recession, our economy is at a critical point where all forces must be awaken to support and implement development actions. Growth will come on its own, as an automatic reflection of everyone's will to end the recession. Fragiadakis stressed that growth will come when both consumers, investors and enterprises sense that the climate has turned positive. "A successful completion of a review is a landmark, the first step and a necessary precondition to change the climate," he noted.

Referring to the domestic banking system, National Bank's CEO said it was aiming to return to profitability, to drastically manage non-performing loans and to implement restructuring plans. "We must become better internally, we have to deal with the consequences of the recession and to enhance our credibility," Fragiadakis said. "National Bank, fortified with capital and with strong liquidity, as the first quarter results have shown, has entered a profitability course ready to implement its goals, which means that we are ready to support investments and enterprises, both start-ups and existing ones. We believe, that now more than ever, it is time for hard work and actions," he said.

Eurobank's chief executive Fokion Karavias, said that an agreement in Eurogroup lifted a serious uncertainty factor for the country's outlook and paved the way for a series of positive developments shortly in the Greek economy, adding that "regaining a deeply shaken confidence demands discipline and focusing on goals".

Karavias said that Greece has the potential and offers the opportunities to attract significant international capital, to activate domestic business activity and to achieve -quickly- stable growth rates. Eurobank's CEO said that healthy business activity will become the driving force for the return to positive growth rates and creating new job positions. Eurobank has all the possibilities to support its customers, Greek households and enterprises based on long-term relationship of cooperation and trust, Karavias said, adding that among others Eurobank offered its customers the necessary support -particularly to small- and medium-sized enterprises- healthy large Greek enterprises and businesses that can remain viable, exploiting the opportunities that a recovery of the Greek economy will bring.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report



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