A First-Hand Account Of The Greek Bank Run

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tom Winnifrith of Share Prophets

Witnessing the great bank run first hand as I deposit money in Greece

Jim Mellon says that the Greeks should build a statue in my honour as on Friday I opened a bank account in Greece and made a deposit. Okay it was only 10 Euro, I need to put in another 3,990 Euro to get my residency papers so I can buy a car, a bike and a gun, but it was a start. But the scenes at the National Bank in Kalamata were of chaos, you could smell the panic and they were being replicated at banks across Greece.

For tomorrow is a Bank Holiday here and if you are going to default on your debts/ switch from Euros to New Drachmas a bank holiday weekend is the best time to do it. And with debt repayments that cannot be met due on June 5 (next Friday) Greece is clearly in the merde. If it defaults all its banks go bust.

But I had to open an account and make a deposit. Outside the bank in the main street of Kalamata there are two ATMs. The lines at both were ten deep when I arrived and when I left an hour later. Inside I was directed to the two desks marked "Deposit". You go there to put in money, to open an account or if you are so senile that you cannot do basic admin of your account without assistance. As such it was me depositing cash and four octogenerians who had not got a clue about anything. Actually I lie. These folks may have been gaga but they were not so gaga that they were actually going to deposit cash, I was the sole depositer.

Friday was also the day when pensions are paid into bank accounts. On the Wednesday and Thursday it was reported that Greeks withdrew 800 million Euro from checking accounts. Friday's number will dwarf that. Whe you go to a Greek bank you pull off a ticket and wait for your number to be called. The hall in my bank contains about 60 seats all of which were filled. There were folks standing behind the seats and in fact throughout the hall, all wanting to get their cash out before the bank closed at 2 PM.

At the side of the room, shielded by a glass screen sat a man behind a big desk. He tapped away at his screen and made phone calls. Ocassionally folks wandered over, shook papers in his face and harangued him having got no joy elsewhere. So I guess he was the bank manager. I rather expected him to end one phone call and stand up to say "That was Athens - all the money has gone, its game over folks." But he didn't. He may well do so at some stage soon.

Eventually I got the the front of my five person queue of the senile and opened my account. Passport, tax number, phone number all in order. I handed over a 10 Euro note and the polite - if somewhat stressed - young man gave me about ten pieces of paper to sign and stamped my passbook. I have done my bit for Greece and have given it 10 Euro which I will lose one way or another in due course. So Jim - time to lobby for that statue.

The Government did not put up a default notice on Friday as I half expected. The can kicking goes on. The ATMs will be emptied this weekend and on Tuesday and in the run up to a potential default day next Friday the banks will be packed again with folks taking out whatever money they can.

It is not just the bank coffers that are being emptied. To get to The Greek Hovel where I sit now from my local village of Kambos is a two mile drive. On my side of the valley there is some concrete track but it is mainly a mud road. On the other side of the valley there is a deserted monastery so to honour the Church - even if there are no actual monks there - a concrete road was built in the good times. By last summer it was more pothole than road.

By law, since I have water and electricity, I can demand that the road be mended and so last summer I went to the Kambos town hall (4 full time staff serving a population of 536) and did just that. They said "the steam roller is broken and we have no money but will try to do it in the Autumn." They did not.

But last week a gang of men appeared and the road is now pothole free, indeed in some places we have a whole new concrete surface. And as I head towards Kalamta there are extensive road mending programmes. At Kitries, the village has found money to renovate its beach front. It is a hive of activity across the Mani.

Quite simply each little municipality is spending every cent it has as fast as it can. The Greek State asked all the town halls to hand over spare cash a few weeks ago to help with the debt repayment. The town halls know that next time it will not be a request but an order. But by then all the money they had hoarded will have been spent. That is Greekeconomics for you.

Everyone knows that something has to give and that it will probanly happen this summer. The signs are everywhere

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TeamDepends's picture

Welcome to Brokebank Mountain, where every depositor gets a dick in the ass.

El Oregonian's picture

Time to greece the rails on this doomed experiment.

Soul Glow's picture

Well Tsiprias isn't doing nathan to help his State.  He could have told the IMF to fuck off from day one, gone back to the drachma and backed it with gold and silver and become a country of prominence.  Imagine if the coins were partly made of silver, now that would hold value.

Yet he meddles and plays along just as all the other lame countries who whine that the EU is looting the system.  Talk is cheap.  Silver is king.

SmilinJoeFizzion's picture

Greeks don't run, they prance

0b1knob's picture

You are at the bank to make a DEPOSIT while everybody else is withdrawing money?   Who is the greater fool?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Run bank run.

The very idea of a bank running is such an oxymoron! Anyways, this sounds more like a Bank Amble.

Or is it a bank stroll?

Runs, fractally look and feel exactly like the aftermath of a handfull of laxatives or a bad night at the local HOT chillie cook-off....

Stay bank, stay!

Notes, not the banking kind ;-)


SafelyGraze's picture

"If it defaults all its banks go bust."

other way round

if greece defaults, the banks can potentially remain solvent a while longer

if greece makes payments, those payments are raked from other sources and its banks go bust


TahoeBilly2012's picture

The guy who wrote this is a jerkoff.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Money is created out of thin air.  Except in Greece.  Welcome to a dick in your ass...

Gobbler's picture
Gobbler (not verified) Keyser Jun 1, 2015 1:30 AM

When will the Greeks wisen up and go back to the Drachma?  I'm tired of waiting

Wolferl's picture

Throw those pathetic Greeks out of Europe already.

Gobbler's picture
Gobbler (not verified) Wolferl Jun 1, 2015 1:52 AM

I have wonderful news.  There be a leprechaun up in the tree.  Peace.

OC Sure's picture

The greeks were once among the mightiest groups of people. Intellectually, physically, and financially.   /yawn

CPL's picture

Timing is everything and only fools rush in.

Calmyourself's picture

fools, schmools.. What kind of gun did you buy..

Sandmann's picture

I bet it was made very clear to him by someone with an American accent that life could be bittersweet and short if he did not do as instructed by the IMF. It is after all a department of the US Treasury currently financing a war in Ukraine which is a breach of its charter but the American accent tells complainers to notice something else instead

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

If Greece defaults and joins the BRIICS and AIIB, I'd open (remotely) a Greek bank account, with a small deposit ($100), as a show of support.

Multiply that by a Million or more people, and you got something to add to AIIB.

Farqued Up's picture

The 101st and 82nd Airbornes will forward that money to Blankface and Demon.

r3phl0x's picture

Eventually but they've gonna have to blow up some Panzers first.

Urban Redneck's picture

As long as you remain below Uncle Sam's really-po'-serf-like-reporting-thresholds, you can avoid FATCA reporting requirements.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

In the end.... everyone dies.  The rich die, the poor die, and the people channelling Jesus and Mohammed die.  If someone has 5 billion dollars, a gold mine, a diamond mine, Traci Lords, a REALLY nice wine cellar, and then they die, they are still dead and people fight over the scraps.  Perception is everything.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

+1 traci lords reference.

I always thought the popularity of middleweight actress rene zelleweger was the subconscious realisation of millions of guys that she had a very similar face to traci lords

OldPhart's picture

A heathly addition to any preps.

zuuuueri's picture

so, while this article is pretty much as things are, one quick comment about bank runs- the guy went to the 'national bank of greece' , (the former central bank, ousted by the current totally foriegn-controlled CB in 1927) which is still essentially state-owned and is notoriously the absolutely shittitest bank for customer service in greece. Additionally an overwhelming percentage of very old people who indeed need step by step help understanding the paperwork, all seem to have accounts there (old sentimentality or something) and that bank also still is the only place one can pay some kinds of taxes and fees to the state... on any day of the week any time of the year any year of the decade, you go into the national bank, and youll wait an hour in line, while any other bank (e.g. alpha, peiraios, etc) you'll get much better customer service and youll wait 1/10th the time... so, that fellow's observation described a _typical_ day :) (the line at the ATM is atypical, but, i havent seen such things the past days) almost all the deposits left in gr banks are businesses who are basically forced to keep money there for payroll, taxes, paying suppliers, etc. nobody i know has more than a couple hundred bucks left in the bank (and most people in gr havent got enough money left for it to even make a difference, the vast majority of the draw-down the past few years has NOT been a run on the banks, it has been people drawing down savings to live, because income has not sufficed. that is also why it has been gradual and not all at once (i will not ever argue that it made sense for them to have kept the money in the bank to begin with, thats another story))

Lets Buy The Dip's picture

a dick in the ass you say? sounds quite painful. 

what about the SHANGHAI market holy hell ==> HERE THE CHINA CHART

people getting long that market, might be about to get gangraped, but still there are people who keep chasing, the EUROPE and the ASIAN markets, caues they are doing QE to infintity and beyond!!!....and we all know where that took the US market, up up and AWAYYYYY! like superman! LOL

walküre's picture

then they're in recession this quarter

Keyser's picture

The entire world has been in recession for some time, only TPTB are too busy playing 3-card-monty to tell the general public... Something to do with keeping their heads attached when the peasants roll out the guillotines... 

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Ouch.  Perhaps that's why EWY was unable to bounce up off the 50-day moving average.

TheGreatRecovery's picture

People just got their first "summer" electric bill (for the air conditioner) and had cut back on their purchases of electronics and cars?

erkme73's picture

Great slice of spam, shithead.

silvermail's picture

People still do not understand the huge difference that exists between money and currency.

ebworthen's picture

Yes, and why would the bank "run out of money" when it can be created out of the ether, and printed for next to nothing?

For the same reason that Africans were herded onto slave ships and forced to pick cotton. 

Same idea and effect - just a different century and dressed up with:  suits, ties and "laws".

TheEndIsNear's picture

Greece can't (legally) print Euros.


conscious being's picture

In a fiat money system with fractional reserve banking, everytime a bank makes "a loan", it is in effect printing new money. Creating new money out of nothing and getting paid interest on what they conjured up. Money for nothing. Nice gig for some people who are into that sort of thing.

cherry picker's picture

Maybe not legally, but why not?  They got the printing presses and plates.

Let them pay their creditors with printed money, that's what the US and other countries do.

What are they going to do, throw Greece in jail?  The don't throw Yellen or Goldman in jail.

As a matter of fact, a little counterfitting doesn't sound like a bad idea.  And if you don't get greedy you probably won't get caught and live qute nicely.

Prime Rib's picture

"Counterfeit" money is only a problem if the bank gets a hold of it and takes it away from the person who has it, or when people get greedy. Otherwise, it is just as viable and useful as the stuff printed by the feds. Learned this in Econ 101 UCBerkeley 1967 and still true.

CHX's picture

Says WHO ??? I thought that too, but 2 minutes of i-searching told me something different. Seems like the could and likely do en masse.




Issuance and printing

The ECB has the exclusive right to authorise the issue of notes within the Eurozone, but most notes are actually issued by the National Central Banks (NCBs) of the Eurozone.[1] As of 2004, 8% of banknotes were issued by the European Central Bank and 92% were issued by Eurozone NCBs.[1] The issuing central bank can be seen from the serial number. Each NCB is now responsible for the production of certain denominations, as assigned by the ECB.[1]

Flying Wombat's picture

That's right, and Ireland printed euros a couple of years ago.  Exceptions have been made before.

Debugas's picture

and you forgot to mention that National Central Banks (NCBs) are not national at all - they are part of ECB and ruled from ECB

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Many people do not have access to competing currencies. I believe that, if they became able to walk into a store and make a purchase in either dollars, rubles, euros, or soles, they would come to understand the difference between money and currencies very quickly.

Also, I believe that people who regularly make purchases and sales in a variety of currencies quickly come to understand the difference, and that this understanding gives them a considerable advantage in business.

Debugas's picture

i know e.g. that people in ukrain keep their savings in dollars for many years

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Thanks.  Yes.  THOSE people understand.

TeamDepends's picture

Thank you so so much. It's time for us to take another sabbatical. When we hit certain peaks we know it's time to focus on other things. We will be hovering in the background, watching. Tyler, keep the fight. This is the greatest website. Brothers and sisters, this is your time to shine, let nothing stand in your way. See you when Jade Helm starts (ha). When the going gets tough....

The Big Ching-aso's picture

A Greek bank run. With the amount of money those folks are left with now a bank run is a power walk with a cane at best, man.