President of Greek Banks Association Louka Katseli appealed at the citizens to return their money to the banks. “Banks are absolutely trustworthy,” Katseli told Mega TV “as guaranteed by the ECB and the Bank Association, but they would have been even more powerful if 40 billion euros had not been withdrawn in the last months.
Katseli, a former PASOK Minister, appealed to citizens to return their deposits to the banks “now that the banks are open” after a three-week holiday and capital controls.
“Let’s all help our economy,” Katseli urged Greeks and added “If you take your money out of your chests and houses – which are not safe in any case – and deposit at banks, this will enhance liquidity.”
“There will be no need to “haircut” deposits in the future if we all act responsibly,” she added -cheerfully I suppose.
Katseli’s appeal triggered laughter among Greeks and one stressed with hint to capital controls “Oh yes! I will bring my money back to the bank and get it back 60 by 60 euro.”
Another one noted “Ah sure! Banks will never see my money again, I prefer to buy tonnes of peanuts with it.”
A third commented “Certainly. And the banks will go bust after a while…”
A fourth reckoned a very unfortunate incident in 2010 and busted into tears and laughter. Back then Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had appealed to the Greeks to buy Greek bonds. The man invested 10,000 euro to help Greece. Two years later, his investment underwent a 53%-Haircut due to the PSI. Now the nominal value of his investment is …”I don’t even open the envelopes coming from the bank anymore, too frustrating,” he told me.
How can Greeks trust the banks after what has happened? Already many worry about their deposits as mergers of Greek banks are reportedly due. Even though they know that merger do not end in losing your money. Or does it? huh?
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Incidentally, this is justt as we predicted last week. In "Greek Banks Just Became A "Strong Sell" At Any Price" we wrote:
... even as an "unsustainable" Greece meanders day to day with yet another capital infusion to avoid a sovereign default, its insolvent banks just became the first casualty of reality. However, they may not be the only ones: recall that bank depositors are nothing more than unsecured creditors. If and when the reality of the Greek economic collapse is fully tabulated (as the IMF appears to have finally done) it won't be just the equity that is wiped out - depositors themselves face the risk of creeping haircuts to their "liabilities."
Which is why we doubt that Greek savers will rush to put their money in the banks, and why we think Draghi is taking a huge gamble by putting even more ELA into Greek banks just before the same banks will announce at any possible moment they are forced to liquidate existing shareholders. The popular outcry against the banking system once a bail in is confirmed, even if it does not involve depositors initially, will send shock waves through society and rekindle the bank run once more.
Ironically, the one thing that would help preserve confidence in the Greek banking system, is more transparency about the "performing" nature of Greek bank loans: if this amount has hit 50% (or more) on the total €210 billion of loans, then depositor haircuts become virtually inevitable - anything well below that and there would still be a modest cushion before bail-ins have to go up in the cap structure.
Which is also why we fear no transparency will be forthcoming and why we expect that people may be fooled once again into believing their savings are, well, safe only to find out the hard way they are anything but - a hard lesson that investors in insolvent Greek banks are about to learn first hand.
Sure enough, so far the score is transparency 0 - propaganda: +∞. And as duly predicted, the bank runs continue.