Facing "Full Blown Crisis", Bank Of Greece Enlists Security Firm To Ensure ATMs Stay Stocked

On Monday, we brought you a firsthand photographic account of a Greek ATM refill in progress. 

The nice fellow shown above filling the cash machine at Arnie's Place restaurant in Nidri Greece works for G4S, a security services firm which is working with the Bank of Greece to coordinate the Greek bank run.

In essence, it’s the Bank of Greece’s job to accept stodgy collateral (including unsecured bonds issued by the banks themselves and backed by the full faith and credit of the insolvent Greek government) for newly-minted German TARGET2 claims euros and it’s G4S’s job to determine how those euros should be allocated to ensure that the ATMs don’t run out of cash. Here’s Reuters with more:

Security services group G4S has drawn up plans with Greece's central bank to keep the country's cash machines stocked in the event of a full-blown economic crisis, the company told Reuters.

 

"Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were critical, really critical," he said, referring to withdrawals of cash from Greek banks. He added the situation eased over the weekend.

 

Greeks withdrew more than 4 billion euros ($4.50 billion) from the banking system last week on fears the country was set to default and potentially leave the euro zone.

 

That included withdrawals of more than 1 billion euros each on Thursday and Friday amid rising fears Athens would have to impose capital controls. The government denies it has any plans for that.

 

G4S has been drawing up plans on how much cash it should move around the country, and when, Paterakis said.

 

The firm has increased staff in recent months to meet an increase in demand for cash, which it estimates has risen by about 30 percent over the last two weeks.

The company has some experience dealing with countries living on borrowed time via ELA…

G4S, the world's biggest security services company, worked to stock cash machines during the 2013 Cypriot banking crisis, and says it collaborates with the majority of Greek banks.

...and, when it’s time to panic, G4S will also store cash for companies…

Andreas Paterakis, the head of southern Europe for G4S, also said the Britain-based company stored cash for a handful of major businesses last week as fears grew about the stability of Greek banks.

 

A handful of major clients, both international and local firms, stored cash with the company for two or three days last week, Paterakis said.

As a reminder, during the same period over which Greek banks lost nearly €30 billion in deposits, banknotes in circulation have jumped by some €13 billion. In fact, cash usage has risen 44% YTD. 

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But don’t worry. G4S hasn’t had to call in the military… yet.

“We have not involved, police and in no way the military. They don't have to play any role. But if we were asked to carry bigger amounts of money then maybe we would ask for a police escort, especially if it is to remote areas."