Greek banks to be tested for 2 more recession years

Greek banks to be tested for 2 more recession years

ATHENS - Reuters
Greek banks to be tested for 2 more recession years

Greece Finance Minister Stournaras (L) and the Bank of Greece Gov Provopoulos speak at a meeting. AFP photo

Greek banks will have to prove they have enough capital to withstand another two years of recession under the “adverse” scenario of stress tests being carried out in Athens, bank governor George Provopoulos told Reuters.

The tests on the country’s four largest banks, all majority owned by Greece’s bank rescue fund the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), are being carried out to check if this summer’s 28 billion euro ($38 billion) recapitalization has left the banks capable of dealing with future shocks.

Greek banks have seen their non-performing loans swell to 28 percent of their total loan books, as six years of consecutive recession wiped 25 percent off the country’s output, while Greece’s bailout programme demanded wage cuts and tax hikes.

Greece expects to return to marginal growth in 2014.

“Under the baseline scenario, which represents our forecast and the troika’s forecast, Greece will return to growth in 2014,” Provopoulos said in an interview, referring to the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund collectively.

“Under the adverse scenario, growth kicks in in 2016, with small negative growth rates until then.”
The adverse scenario from Greece’s 2011/2012 stress tests was exceeded, but Provopoulos said the latest adverse scenario should not be interpreted as a forecast in this year’s tests, which are being carried out on National Bank of Greece , Piraeus, Alpha Bank and Eurobank .

Alpha Bank Chief Economist Michael Massourakis said it was like the universe conspired to produce the Blackrock adverse scenario (from 2011), referring to the U.S. consultancy which carried out the review in 2011/2 and is doing the 2013 version as well.