Banks’ state reps face ax
The state’s representatives on the governing boards of the country’s systemic banks have to resign as they do not fulfill the criteria of the law the government introduced after the 2015 negotiations with Greece’s creditors.
The appointment of new state representatives at banks will not be an easy task for the government, as it will have to select actual bankers with considerable banking experience, and not party friends as had been the case to date.
The boards of National Bank and Piraeus Bank no longer have a state representative as they have paid off all funding granted to them by the state under the 2008 law regarding assistance to the credit sector, which had introduced state representation on bank boards.
In fall 2015, amid heroic declarations about national pride and independence, the government passed a law that included exceptionally strict criteria for the appointment of bank board members, reflecting the deep mistrust of Greece’s creditors in local human capital. The law ruled out any state involvement in banks’ decision making.
Therefore, in the last few months, more than 20 Greek board members have resigned from the boards of National, Alpha, Piraeus and Eurobank and been replaced by foreign bankers. The balance in the four boards stands at 26 Greeks against 19 foreigners and is likely to shift further in favor of non-Greeks. administration of the Piraeus group, led by CEO Christos Megalou, is expected to up the pace in tackling the major challenges ahead, the first being the reduction of its nonperforming exposures (NPEs). Piraeus has to reduce its NPEs from about 34.2 billion today to 20.3 billion euros at end-2019.