As Greek Banks Run Out Of Safe Deposit Boxes, An Eerie Calm Takes Over The Country 24 Hours Before D-Day

Tyler Durden's picture

A day before the Greek D-Day, which was unexpectedly punctuated with a surprising last-minute Greek victory in Euro2012 over Russia, sending the country into the elimination rounds (a Greece vs Germany game would be quite interesting) which may have rekindled patriotic spirits just enough to boost Syriza's chance that little bit more, the Greek bank trot, which was a jog some days ago, has surprisingly not metastazied into a full blown sprint. And with an all too real possibility that Greece may leave the Eurozone in as little as 24 hours, this is somewhat unexpected: after all taking physical possession of electronic money is merely a free put on the return to the Drachma, and currency (and debt) devaluation. On Monday it may simply be too late. Surely, most locals have figured this out.

Spiegel reports: "Joanna Stavropoulos is not proud of what she has done. "I had a guilty conscience when I withdrew my money from Greece," says the 43-year-old. Of course she knew what would happen if everybody does the same: Greece's banks would be threatened with collapse. But she says she had to think of her two-month-old daughter, Josephina, who is currently asleep on Joanna's shoulder. Increasing numbers of Greeks are following Joanna Stavropoulos' example and emptying their accounts. They are afraid that Greece may leave the euro zone and return to the drachma.... Stavropoulos is one of the few people who know very well what this scenario would look like in concrete terms.. She has also lived in Zimbabwe, where three-digit inflation destroyed the currency. Joanna is sure that Greece could face the same thing if it returns to the drachma. "My country is going downhill," she says." And yet instead of taking the cash and converting it into something of real value, what has happened is that the €50 billion now hidden in various homes has led to a surge in home burglaries. As a result, Greeks are forced to worry not only about their currency returning, but about being robbed. End result: take the cash, but park it back at your bank: "Many customers have left their money in the bank itself, Christiana says -- but in a safe deposit box rather than in their accounts. "It's currently impossible to find a free safe deposit box in a Greek bank," she says." We wonder what happens when these same people try to access their "safe deposit boxes" should the entire banking system collapse. Then again, nobody said a currency union disintegrating was a logical, rational and orderly process...

Oddly enough, despite the all too real dangers of a complete lock out by and of the local banks, Greeks refuse to believe that the worst case scenario could realistically happen:

There is still little sign of panic in Greece, and there has not been a stampede to the banks. Nevertheless, people are withdrawing hundreds of millions of euros from the banks every day. In May alone, outflows totaled €5 billion. According to official figures, €80 billion has been withdrawn since the start of the crisis.

Which however is not to say that most people have not already commenced preparations:

Christiana (not her real name) can see the capital flight every day with her own eyes. The 46-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, works as an asset manager at a large Greek bank. "It's not just that it is increasing," she says of the withdrawals. It's not only major customers who have been taking out money in recent months, she explains, but all kinds of clients, from account holders with a few hundred euros to the bank's most important private customers. "Naturally, the wealthy ask particularly often what they should do with their money," she says.


Rich Greeks have long been moving billions to countries such as Italy or Switzerland, or buying luxury properties in London. But overall, according to estimates by the Greek central bank, only about one-fifth of the total money withdrawn has gone abroad. Many customers have left their money in the bank itself, Christiana says -- but in a safe deposit box rather than in their accounts. "It's currently impossible to find a free safe deposit box in a Greek bank," she says.


Those customers clearly don't want to be surprised by a currency reform. There has long been speculation over how that could work. The banks could close over a weekend, take stock of the euro holdings in their accounts and prevent further transfers to foreign accounts. Euro bills which are already in circulation would be marked with stamps. The export of unmarked bills would be prevented at the borders. Within a short time, the drachma could be reintroduced.


If it gets that far, Marianna's clients want to be prepared. Like Christiana, she also works as an asset consultant at a Greek bank, And like Christiana, she does not want her real name to be used. Her clients are lawyers, doctors or top managers. "On average, they have between €200,000 and €300,000, which they can withdraw at any time," Marianna says.

Not unexpectedly, the local thieves have figured out what is going on too. And all that physical cash sitting in various homes is just too tempting:

Quite a few wealthy clients also tell Marianna that they are keeping their money at home. Many people are apparently doing the same thing. Greeks now have around €50 billion stashed at home, reports the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, citing the Greek Finance Ministry. Burglaries are increasing as a result. In Crete, they have gone up by 700 percent within two years. Burglars recently stole €50,000 in cash from a house of an old couple in Athens.


The crisis may now increase the social divide in Greece, just as it has done many times in recent years. While members of the upper class have long managed to stash their money in safe places, a possible currency reform and the subsequent devaluation would probably hit many low-income earners unprepared.

In retrospect, the threat of robbery may pale in comparison with the consequences of a coordinated global bank holiday:

Even a cosmopolitan woman like Joanna Stavropoulous has been overwhelmed in her attempts to come up with the right strategy. In 2010, as the signs of Greece's economic crash intensified, she moved her savings to a Spanish bank. Then Spain's economy got into trouble. She moved her money back to Greece -- until the next bout of bad news. She has paid more than €100 ($125) in bank fees alone, she says, due to the constant movement of her money.


When her daughter was born, Stavropoulos paid €12,000 for the birth, a sum that is not considered unusual in private Greek clinics. Now, she has barely any money left. She has now invested the last of her savings in foreign currency, hoping that they will hold their value if Greece returns to the drachma.

Yet the most ironic moment in the Greek denouement will come when fractional reserve lending collapses onto itself:

Stavropoulos and her friends have a new strategy to deal with their daily expenses. "We charge everything to our credit cards," she says. If the Greek banks fail, they won't be able to collect the outstanding debts, she argues. "If they want to mess me around, I will do the same to them."

In other words, Greece is now America, where the vast majority of people also live on credit alone, and have taken up the following motto when dealing with banks: "you pretend to be solvent, we pretend to have money."

At the end of the day, it is all just one big global monetary circle jerk, only this time in reverse, as the snake of fractional reserve banking has finally started to eat its own tail. With people spending money they don't have, and in debt to their eyeballs to a banking system that itself is just as insolvent, is there any wonder that nobody really panics any more over daily threats the grand reset is finally coming?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mongo's picture

Why do I get the feeling that Greeks will not vote against the Euro... they want to get raped... pillaged and finally conquered by the financial oligarchs (oh... they already got past that point... )

veyron's picture

So long as the ouzo flows ...

SilverTree's picture

The Impending Economic Collapse with Survivalist James Wesley Rawles

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Banner ad at the top of this page for me, now, is CIT Bank telling me, "don't get burned," and to open a savings account with them.  



Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- CIT Group Inc, a 101-year-old commercial lender, filed for bankruptcy to cut $10 billion in debt after the credit crunch dried up its funding and a U.S. bailout and debt exchange offer failed.


CIT listed $71 billion in assets and $64.9 billion in debt ina Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The U.S. Treasury Department said the government probably won’t recover much, if any, of the $2.3 billion in taxpayer money that went to CIT.

Oh, the irony!

BooMushroom's picture

Don't get burned! We will pay you 0.4% interest on your savings. Not indexed for inflation, of course.

AldousHuxley's picture

Greeks should maximize their credit and bet the farm on greek banks....short NBG


if banking falls, they profit.....if banks are bailed out, they can declare bankruptcy and stick it to them.

Element's picture


Isn't NATO getting ready to bomb that?

The Monkey's picture

Instead of the world completely falling in on itself, how about a really shitty decade with private sector deleveraging, chronic unemployment, mild deflation, rising protectionism and near zero world growth?

This is the era Gary Shilling has forecast. Get ready.

THX 1178's picture

I think it will be more of a KABOOM...

AldousHuxley's picture

Californian financial advisors heading to greece to teach them how to run deficit ridden government on IOUs as money.

Hulk's picture

rumor is that California will be joining the EU...

smb12321's picture

I too have thought the end of the world talk was absurd.  But here's the difference.  A place like Estonia could survive REAL austerity, hardships and suffering because they were used to it under communism.   They had not experienced for decades the liberty that we in the West have (yeah, yeah, we're all sheeple slaves). 

I daresay Poland or Hungary or Romania could withstand a collapse but Italy, Spain, France?  Fugget about it.   The true idiots would be marching in the streets demanding (what else?) greater State action to save them.  How delusional can one get?

snowlywhite's picture

you're wrong; looking at my countrymen(Romania), they learnt really well the mantra of "state should do something".

Plus, what you don't understand is the way communism shaped the mentality; you have a dictator(sure, he's an imbecile) and you're trained to think that it doesn't matter too much what you do, since ultimately what that idiot decides is what matters. Helps alot in running from responsability.

surviving; yes, we're 1k times better prepared, obviously. Actually solving the underlying problems? Doubt it.

potlatch's picture

NATO is operating at a level or two above that.  NATO is behind the global collapse of banks.  Like the euro?  You will like the nato even better.  the nato = Not A Tender Offer.


It's an offer we can't refuse.

darkpool2's picture

Dealt with the old CIT on the factoring side,.to say they were morons is the understatement of the year. When they went under, i was so pleased. Assuming they still employ a lot of the same idiots, i would just say Stay the Fuck Away

JOYFUL's picture

I shared yur pleasure, at the time, only to discover that 'failure' & bankruptcy in the banking industry don't mean 'death' - only that the corspe is reanimated using taxpayer funds, and then roams the countryside, looking for new clients\fresh meat...

at the time, it was the 4th largest bankruptcy in US history....ho hum.....“This thing doesn’t have a future,” CreditSights analyst David Hendler said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Anything is possible but the problem is not solvable anymore. They’re just in denial it’s finally over,” the New York-based analyst said referring to the rescue financing.” “The century-old lender that finances about 1 million businesses from Dunkin’ Brands Inc. to Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. is “continuing to evaluate alternatives” after failing to convince the U.S. government to back its debt, the New York- based company said July 16 in a statement.” ...

4 months later, the thing without a future had transformed itself from an entity providing small bizness with cash flow and leased equipment into yet another blood sucking parasite on an already crippled body. What better illustration of the death by small cuts of Merikan enterprise could there ever be than this story???

And they dare to call this  ZOMBIE NATION  a "free market" economy.

potlatch's picture

some people think all this zombie chatter is just a stupid joke.  Well it is a joke.  But as we all know, there are times when jokes tell the truth better than any dry account or enumeration.  This is why poets never are at risk of becoming obsolete: some things are just fuckin epic.


And the zombie apocalypse...  it is not just some joke.  It has "purchase" as we say in the faculty lounge...

Redhotfill's picture

Arent they based in Salt Lake City.  If I remember right 12 or so years ago they got the Utah momo legislature to allow "digital" signatures to enforce loan agreements,  I think Utah has a 15 year statute of limitations on written contracts because of these folks.  These were also the same MoMO's that financed all those buy a Dell computer at the Dell website with no credit. Lulz  I wonder how this will effect Dell?

prodigious_idea's picture

Mine is "Jesus Christ is Lord" for a Christian singles dating site.  I'm not Christian or single and unless it's the online gun stores I've been frequenting lately I can't imagine the demographic connection.

potlatch's picture

I keep getting asked to join a Christian Adult Porn site.  I never even knew there were such things.

CompassionateFascist's picture

  Rawles excellent as usual, except the part about "getting good with God". Never mind God. Get good with your M1A. It, not God, will blast through a cinderblock wall at 250 yards.

TWSceptic's picture

Looks like 5 christians lack faith in the M1A.

Colonial Intent's picture

Point the M1A at those christians and they'll start believing it pretty damn quickly.

neidermeyer's picture

I had to sell my M1 a year ago ,, but I have it's WW2 opponent ,, a K98 in 8mm ... it too will punch through at 250 yards ...

Bunker Boy's picture

Jim Rawles has been calling this for several years...

Hulk's picture

Its the first time though, that he has said gather up your things and get out of Dodge...

Sudden Debt's picture

Whatever. The 20th they run out of money!
Wednesday! And germany already said NEIN!!
Whoever wins, they won't get money.
They'll only have money if they go to the drachma, even if it's highly hyperinflated. There just isn't anything left to pay the cops with.

And as we all know, cops only beat down citizens when they're being paid.

andrewp111's picture

And when the cops are not paid, they become robbers - and they are the only organized robbers with real firepower and the training to use it.

Waffen's picture

200 to 300k euros in the bank? Are these people insane?

I sincerely hope no zerohedgers are making this same mistake?

Waffen's picture

The normalcy bias is at Titanic levels.

THX 1178's picture

Yeccchh. I should be shot.

potlatch's picture

you will be.  The round ups are scheduled for July.

Peter Pan's picture

When will people wake up to the fact that currencies only come under threat when they do not possess intrinsic value. The Euro will not be an exception to this rule.

Dugald's picture

FREE Safety deposit boxes....strewth, do the Greeks pay for anything??????

potlatch's picture

The Greeks think they are getting residuals from having invented Western Civilization.  But sadly, we live in an uncivil world, and those contracts are expired.

death_to_fed_tyranny's picture


lewy14's picture

You understand?

You know what I'm saying?

Fuck off to the people up front, Fuck off to the people in the back, Fuck off to the bartender, Fuck off to the waitresses, Fuck off to the dj, Fuck off, Fuck off to the lady with the beer over there in the pink skirt, Fuck off to all them mean english girls named Charisse... Fucking blonde english girls with ghetto names you know what I'm saying?

I love that shit.

flattrader's picture

I think that is what she's sayin re: this--


>>>Stavropoulos and her friends have a new strategy to deal with their daily expenses. "We charge everything to our credit cards," she says.<<<


You go girl!!!

potlatch's picture

I think we have found the bottom of the market, eh?  Hell, wish I had some credit cards.  I'm too pure lol.

JeremyWS's picture

If I was in greece I would be converting all my money to USD and gold don't care if their bereau de change gave me 1.15 EURUSD or 1800 for gold. Better than keeping in greek banks.

andrewp111's picture

If Greek or Spanish citizens can use US Treasury Direct, they should. But link your account to a German bank account, not a Greek or Spanish one.

Boilermaker's picture

D-DAY?  Please.  Like the ECB and the entire powers in Europe and the elite in the rest of the world are going to allow any outcome of the 'elections' other than they one they want.

Seriously.  Stop it.

This will be a Saddam style election.

wandstrasse's picture

German Newspapers are warning / fear mongering, the IMF is warning / fear mongering... this is quite a reliable sign that total and complete collapse will NOT happen for a few more weeks...

Michael's picture

That should read; Complete and total economic collapse.

Never One Roach's picture

Hank Paulson is the Best Feear Monger...his hands trembling...his vocie quivering he warns the end of the world is near ...IF banks don't get money....

Boilermaker's picture

Don't forget that it was a two page contract in which he nor his cronies could ever be held accountable, nor audited, nor even questioned on the matter ever again.  And, he had full discrection to literally do WHATEVER he saw fit with the money.  You know, just to complete the scene.