Are the cap­i­tal con­trols eas­ing?

New mea­sures to ap­ply as of Septem­ber 1, but an­nual limit on per­mit­ted with­drawals keeps shrink­ing

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY YIANNIS PAPADOYIANNIS

The gov­ern­ment is gear­ing up to launch new mea­sures that are billed as eas­ing the cap­i­tal con­trols but which will in fact re­duce the an­nual amount of cash bank clients can with­draw.

As of Septem­ber 1, when the new mea­sures come into force, cit­i­zens will be able to with­draw a to­tal of 1,800 eu­ros per month. When the con­trols were first in­tro­duced in July 2015, Greeks could only with­draw 60 eu­ros a day, 365 days a year, but since then they have been al­lowed to carry that amount for­ward up to a pe­riod of two weeks, giv­ing them a 840-euro limit ev­ery 14 days (fixed, from mid­night Fri­day to mid­night two weeks later). That will re­main the case un­til the end of Au­gust.

The ex­ten­sion of the cu­mu­la­tive with­drawal pe­riod may fa­cil­i­tate transactions, but on an an­nual ba­sis the to­tal amount a bank cus­tomer can with­draw will fall from 21,840 eu­ros (840 eu­ros x 26 two-week pe­ri­ods) to 21,600 (1,800 eu­ros x 12 months).

Greeks could in fact with­draw more money per year on the orig­i­nal limit of 60 eu­ros per day, to­tal­ing 21,900 eu­ros a year, as that avoided the fixed-two-week-pe­riod prob­lem. In other words the “eas­ing” of re­stric­tions has re­sulted in cur­tail­ing peo­ple’s with­drawal limit by 300 eu­ros per an­num, for the right to trans­fer a with­drawal to an­other day or week.

Bank sources tell Kathimerini it is a pos­i­tive move that will strengthen con­fi­dence, make transactions eas­ier and boost the econ­omy.

The new mea­sures will also af­fect with­drawals in for­eign cur­rency in Greece and the use of Greek debit cards for with­drawals abroad.

As of Septem­ber 1 any re­cip­i­ents of money for­warded from abroad will be able to with­draw 50 per­cent of the amount with­out any re­stric­tions.

Com­pa­nies will also be able to open 829.50 1.1868 an ac­count at a credit in­sti­tu­tion by cre­at­ing a new cus­tomer ID re­gard­less of whether they al­ready have an­other ac­count there. Farm­ers, who have not been al­lowed to open bank ac­counts since the con­trols started, will fi­nally be al­lowed to (pro­vided they do not have one al­ready). Em­ploy­ees will be fur­ther able to open a new salary ac­count at a dif­fer­ent bank to the one at which they are al­ready a client or if their new em­ployer pays their salary at an­other lender.

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