George Hay writes about the banking and property sectors. He joined from Thomson Financial News, where he was a companies correspondent. Before that he worked at United Business Media, where he was news editor of Building Magazine. He has a first in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and was nominated in two categories at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards. Follow George on Twitter @gfhay
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After Syriza’s victory comes a long haggle over debt reduction for Athens. While this drags on, liquidity-short Greek banks have to rely on uncertain funding signed off by the ECB. The struggle to survive will delay dealing with another headache: their mountains of bad debt.
Two Hellenic lenders have already applied for emergency liquidity assistance from their central bank. While precautionary, such calls for help used to be more discreet. Flagging the banks’ difficulties could be a way to warn the electorate ahead of the Jan. 25 elections.
The single banking supervisor wants laggard lenders such as Italy’s Monte dei Paschi to hold extra capital buffers. That’s welcome. It may contradict the ECB’s other task – boosting lending in the euro zone. But that’s the price to pay for the new institution’s credibility.
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