Exclusive Exclusive: Greece to Ease Capital Controls, Says Central Banker

Greece plans to ease capital controls in the near future, the country’s central bank chief Yannis Stournaras told Handelsblatt in an exclusive interview. Currently, Greeks can only withdraw €420 ($462) per week from their bank accounts, the result of controls imposed on citizens last year as Greece very nearly spiraled out of the euro currency bloc. The restrictions will be eased by removing capital controls on any new money deposited in banks by customers. “We want to give people an incentive to take the money they have in their apartments and deposit it with the banks,” Mr. Stournaras, governor of the Bank of Greece, said in the interview. Greek banks are stable and have on average a Tier 1 core capital quota of more than 16 percent, Mr. Stournaras said, one of the highest quotas in the entire euro zone. “I don’t see the need for another capital injection,” the central banker said. Credit risks pose the biggest threat to Greek banks, Mr. Stournaras added. The Bank of Greece found that 45.2 percent of all loans held by the country’s banks are at risk for default. By 2019, Greek banks plans to reduce bad debt by 40 percent from €100 billion to €60 billion. Read the full story in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition. Photo Source: DPA