EU approves restructuring plans of Greece's leading bank

GMT 22:05 2014 Thursday ,24 July

Arab Today, arab today EU approves restructuring plans of Greece's leading bank

The European Commission
Brussels - XINHUA

The European Commission has approved the restructuring plans for Greece's leading bank Piraeus, the bloc said in a statement published Wednesday.
Acknowledging that the plans were in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules, the bloc said "measures already implemented and those planned will enable Piraeus to fully restore its long-term viability."
The restructuring plan committed a reduction of operating expenses, increasing net interest income and prudent risk management of the bank. The plan also provides for a significant cut of Piraeus' loss-making international operations, the statement said.
Vice President of the European Commission in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said: "The successful integration of several Greek banking activities has strengthened Piraeus' liquidity position."
"The enlarged group now needs to complete the significant rationalization process started two years ago in order to restore its long-term viability, allowing it to finance the Greek economy in a sustainable way," he added.
Piraeus provides universal banking services mainly in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, with a focus on Greece. A restructuring plan for Piraeus was submitted to EU institutions in June 2014.
"Piraeus' difficulties do not come from excessive risk-taking but from the sovereign debt crisis and the exceptionally protracted and deep recession which started in 2008," the Commission said in its assessment.
Though Piraeus has received more aid than other large Greek banks, it reduced the amount of aid needed through acquisitions, capital increases and other measures.
Piraeus regained access to capital markets and raised significant amounts of private money in 2013 and 2014, which allowed it to repay part of the aid received.
The implementation of the bank's commitments will be monitored by an independent trustee, the statement added.

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