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NICOLAE CINTEZĂ:"Depositors have withdrawn 600 million Euros from Romanian banks with Greek shareholders"

EMILIA OLESCU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

"Depositors have withdrawn 600 million Euros from Romanian banks with Greek shareholders"

Mircea Coşea: "No matter how prudentially the NBR were to work, there will still be further withdrawals of deposits" 

The crisis in Greece has not left depositors that are keeping their money in Romanian banks with Greek capital indifferent, as a significant number of individuals and companies have withdrawn the money from their bank deposits.

According to Mr. Nicolae Cinteză, the head of the oversight division of the National Bank of Romania (NBR), the amount withdrawn "during the two months of crisis", from Romanian banks with Greek shareholders, amount to 600 million Euros, which represents a "rather significant portion" of the total deposits that exist in the accounts of these operators (over 5 billion Euros, in the beginning of spring, according to estimates in the press).

Nicolae Cinteză told us: "There have been individuals that have withdrawn their money, but companies in particular did so. People took things more lightly than companies, in this situation, which is understandable, in a way, because the companies' deposits aren't guaranteed".

The representative of the NBR thinks that depositors who have withdrawn their money did not react appropriately, because Romanian banks with Greek shareholders are stable, and their solvency and liquidity exceed the requirements.

The governor of the Central Bank, Mugur Isărescu, reiterated on Tuesday, in a press conference, that "the only ones who were affected by the withdrawal of deposits, have been the depositors, who liquidated their deposits and have also been stung by the withdrawal fees".

The statements of the management of the NBR come as shares of Greek bank fell yesterday for the third day in a row. The index of the banking sector had fallen by about 15% yesterday after the first trades, after falling 30% on each of the previous two days.

"The evolution of the banks on the Greek stock exchange has no relevance to our Greek banks. All it means is that the valuation of banks is dropping in Greece", Mr. Cinteză explained.

Governor Isărescu stressed that the situation in Greece is not yet "completely resolved": "A positive evolution has begun with the hope that what will happen from now on will be balanced".

The official mentioned that his statements concerning Greece are being made with extreme caution, and he stressed that in Romania, the situation has remained completely under control. At worst, the NBR, who is a borrower of last resort, can grant loans to Greek subsidiaries, which operate based on the regulations of the National Bank of Romania, he said, and he added: "We do not invite anybody, however, to move their money around between banks".

According to economist Mircea Coşea, regardless of how prudential the NBR were to work, there will still be deposit withdrawals in Romanian banks with Greek shareholders.

He told us: "Even though I currently don't see an immediate and imminent threat to the Romanian banking sector caused by the crisis in Greece, we need to take into account the fact that problems can still occur. That is why we need to be more careful than usual. I do not think that the situation in Greece has been resolved nor do I think that there is a solution that would be applied soon for exiting the current crisis, because there are still elements of crisis in the Greek banking sector. There are some ideas from Germany concerning an orderly exit of some countries, including Greece, from the Eurozone and even from the EU. Such a move would have a number of significant effects on Romania, which would not be easy to ignore, because Romania is Europeanized and has strong ties to the EU".

The four Romanian banks with Greek shareholders are Alpha Bank, Bancpost, Piraeus and Banca Românească.

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