Following a meeting between the Alternate Minister of Finances Dimitris Mardas and banking officials on Sunday, it was decided that the banks will remain closed on Monday, while the 60-euro cap on ATM withdrawals will remain in place. As with last week, certain branches will open to service pensioners who have not yet acquired bank cards.
The situation will be revised on Monday, following the ECB’s governing council’s meeting, which will decide upon the Greek request for an extension of the ELA, as well as whether to apply a discount on the collateral provided by Greek banks.
Government “blocks” money kept in bank deposit boxes
The Alternate Minister of Finances Nantia Valavani made a shocking statement regarding access to bank deposit boxes, on the Alpha television network. Mrs. Valavani notes that anyone with a bank deposit box will be accompanied by a banking officer and may take whatever they want, except cash.
As expected, Mrs. Valavani’s comments caused uproar and she promptly clarified that what she said was in reference to the ongoing banking holiday. She added that there have been thoughts about bank deposit boxes and their operation, which will be determined. Banking circles have stated that there are no such provisions in current legislation and that a legislative amendment would be required.
According to VIMA 99.5 FM, the amendment in question will disallow any withdrawal of any sums of cash from bank deposit boxes.
The Alternate Minister of Finances Dimitris Vardas confirmed that a legislative is being prepared, but clarified that when the banks open, customers will be able to do whatever they want with their deposit boxes, according to Vima 99.5 FM.
The decision to close banks, which was published in the Government Gazette on the 28th of June, sets outs what banking transactions are allowed during the bank holiday. As such, access to deposit boxes was already disallowed, however the rumored new amendment will likely address the issue.
Katseli disputes Valavani
The president of the Greek bank union Mrs. Louka Katseli responded that at present, bank regulations stipulate that banking employees cannot be present when customers access their deposit boxes.
She added that there are no such decisions and that everything will be debated at the Sunday-evening meeting of bankers at the Ministry of Finances.
According to sources, of the 45 billion euros that are outside of the banking system, about 10 to 15 billion euros are kept in bank deposit boxes. The same sources notes that the government will examine whether these funds are related to tax evasion.