Sallas: A fall in Greek bank share prices is not entirely a Greek phenomenon

A fall in Greek bank share prices is not entirely a Greek phenomenon, Mihalis Sallas, chairman of Piraeus Bank said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt on Thursday.

The Greek banker, replying to a question on the causes of a drop in Greek bank share prices after their recapitalization, said: “The environment of the whole market must be taken into view. Markets are monitoring monetary policy more cautiously now. Big market indexes such as Dow Jones and Dax are recording losses this year, a trend that has affected all banks, it is not entirely a Greek phenomenon. Our job is to consistently execute our work, improving our weak spots and implementing a long-term strategy”.

Commenting on this long-term strategy, Sallas said it should focus on further cutting expenses, closely monitoring earnings sources and focusing on the Greek market to establish our power. “However, we wish to address, being stronger now, to foreign enterprises investing in Greece,” Sallas said, adding that “we are recording satisfactory progress in the restructuring of our non-performing loans”.

Sallas said that Piraeus Bank, with a 19.6 pct basic capital rate, was at a good position for the present and commenting on the NPLs problem, said that Piraeus Bank has already set up its own NPLs settlement unit which has great success in its work so far. The Greek banker said that Germany has done a great lot for Greece during the crisis. “It has funded the biggest part of bailout programmes. We cooperate closely with several German companies, such as Fraport, Lidl, Hochtief, Tui and Beiersdorf, to mention a few. If I could express a wish, it would be: Invest in Greece! Despite critics, Greece offers good opportunities for enterprises,” Sallas said.