A man walks past a building of National Bank in Athens, Greece, on May 5, 2018. Athens warmly welcomed on Saturday the announcement that all four of Greece's largest banks successfully passed the latest European Central Bank (ECB) stress tests. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis)
By Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Athens warmly welcomed on Saturday the announcement that all four of Greece's largest banks successfully passed the latest European Central Bank (ECB) stress tests.
According to the results National Bank, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank and Eurobank passed the exercise, even the most adverse macroeconomic scenario which sees GDP at -1.3 percent this year, -2.1 percent in 2019 and 0.2 percent in 2020.
According to the latest forecast on the prospects of Greek economy released by the European Commission this spring Greece will post a 1.9 percent growth rate in 2018 and 2.3 percent next year.
"The results of the 2018 stress test of Greek significant institutions show that the average capital depletion under the adverse scenario, which covered a three-year period and assumed static balance sheets, was 9 percentage points, equivalent to 15.5 billion euros (18.6 billion US dollars)," read an emailed ECB Press statement.
"The capital depletion stood at 8.56 percentage points for Alpha Bank, 8.68 percentage points for Eurobank, 9.56 percentage points for the National Bank of Greece (NBG) and 8.95 percentage points for Piraeus Bank," the statement added.
Saturday's results showed that after eight years of acute debt crisis, despite difficulties, the Greek banking system is now resilient to turbulence and will not need a new recapitalization, as Greece exits the third bailout program this August.
Greek banks have been recapitalized three times since 2010 with bailout funds.
Despite improvement they still need to make more progress in reducing the volume of non performing loans. The Greek banking system is still burdened with more than 90 billion euros of bad loans which should be reduced by 30 percent next year.
"The stress tests results confirm that conditions in Greece improve even under the most conservative scenario. We remain committed to the implementation of the Agenda 2020 to further enhance Piraeus' position and support the country's economic recovery," commented Christos Megalou, Piraeus Bank CEO, in a bank statement.
"Alpha Bank's excellent performance in the stress tests verifies our strong capital basis and our ability to achieve our strategic goals," said Alpha Bank CEO Dimitris Mantzounis in a press release.
Fokion Karavias, Eurobank CEO also expressed satisfaction with the results. "They confirm that despite the strict requirements of the adverse scenario Eurobank is resilient to negative factors," he said in a bank statement.