Stavros Theodorakis met with the President of the Hellenic Bank Association Louka Katseli and the members of the board of directors of the Association, Vasilis Rapanos (Alpha Bank), Nikolaos Karamouzis (Eurobank Ergasias), Nikolaos Gamvrilis (Attica Bank) and the General Secretary Christos Gortsos.
Following the meeting, Stavros Theodorakis made the following statement:
Apart from the liquidity issue, our economy is also suffering from a major lack of trust. The capital controls that were imposed on the Greek economy have blown away all pillars of trust. We are trying, by talking to the government as well as to the bankers, to contribute in restoring trust. We discussed with the representatives of the Greek banks about the current problems, and especially about the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises. We agreed that there must be guarantees from our foreign partners that there will be no haircut of deposits. A haircut on deposits would be extremely unfair in a situation where the sharpies have moved their money abroad and the banking system is supported by responsible citizens. If we proceed with actions to restore the citizens' trust, we believe that there will be a gradual restoration of operations for the banks and, therefore, an improvement of the economic situation. We will face a difficult autumn. The government must make important decisions, and the right people must be selected to create the necessary climate of trust in the Greek society and economy.
Stavros Theodorakis then answered questions by journalists.
Journalist: Did you obtain any guarantees by Mrs. Katseli?
Stavros Theodorakis: In our opinion, Mrs. Katseli, as well as the other participants in the meeting, are making efforts in the right direction. I don’t want to go into technical data, but they realize themselves how important it is for correct political decisions to be made to build a wall of trust. Citizens must not worry that they may lose their money by leaving it at the bank. Only then will those that took out of the bank and keep in their mattresses 5.000, 10.000 or 20.000 euros bring them back to the bank. This money can then finance the economy. The major problem, as we are saying again and again in Potami, is not the ten or twenty rich people. The rich always find solutions, if necessary beyond the Greek banking sector, with international sources of capital. The major problem is the support of the small and medium-sized enterprises. This is not just today’s problem, but will be tomorrow’s problem as well, if these small enterprises keep shutting down, one after the other. We made some calculations that, provided that the banks support them, there are hundreds of thousands small enterprises, which could create jobs and bring a spectacular reduction in unemployment. If only one person is hired by each of the hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises we have, we will immediately impact unemployment. But, in order to support the small and medium-sized enterprises, the trust of the people in the banking system must be restored, so that they bring their money back to the banks, and the economy can restart. The decision by the government to close the banks was terribly irresponsible. But, this is not the time for judgment. We are interested in the future, which is why we are proposing solutions to the government and to the banking system. There will be time to analyze after we get over the crisis, after the fire is put out.
Journalist: After this meeting, are you more optimistic?
Stavros Theodorakis: I am only optimistic because there are, right now, people that look at the situation with a patriotic point of view. The problems ahead are many and difficult. It does not help when each one of us talks to his own audience, to his own party. We will try, and we are already doing it, to impose a patriotic point of view to all. Our house is on fire. We must put out the fire and then talk about other matters.
Present at the meeting were Haris Theocharis and Antigone Liberaki, members of parliament, as well as Andreas Koutras, head of the Finance Sector of the Party.
28 July 2015
Photo credit: Theodore Manolopoulos