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Greece: The only "public" in banks is the debt that will be loaded on future generations!

by SCH

Neoliberal dictatorship representatives in Greece continue to spread the propaganda concerning the Greek banks. Various mouthpieces continue to propagate the false perception that the Greek banks are, at the moment, under the state control and some of them claim that this is a proof of the Soviet function of the economy!

The mouthpieces propagate that this is the reason for which they must be privatized again, so that the state should not have the responsibility of their recapitalization and relief taxpayers from such an additional load. In reality, the only thing that will change, according to the best scenario, are the names of the private financial institutions and investors that will take control of the so-called "systemic" banks in the future, while the Greek public will be left with an additional debt.

The purely private nature of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF)

From the HFSF website and the Annual Report for the period 21/7/2010 – 31/12/2011:

The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (hereinafter the “Fund” or “HFSF”) was founded in July 2010 (under Law 3864/2010) as a private legal entity and does not belong to the public sector. It has administrative and financial autonomy, operates exclusively under the rules of the private economy and is governed by the provisions of the founding law as applicable. In addition, the provisions of company law 2190/1920 are applied as in force, provided they are not contrary to the provisions and the objectives of the founding law of the Fund. The purely private nature of the Fund is neither affected by its entire capital being subscribed by the Greek government, nor by the issuance of the relevant decisions by the Minister of Finance.

In addition, the Fund may provide guarantees to states, international organizations or other beneficiaries and in general may take any action necessary for implementing the decisions made by the bodies of the eurozone with a view to supporting the Greek economy.

Funds for the HFSF

Under the title “Post Balance Sheet Events”, p. 5-6:

On 15/03/2012 The European Financial Stability Facility (hereinafter EFSF), the Greek State, the Fund and the BoG, signed the “Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement” amounting to a total of € 109 billion and the Fund guarantees on behalf of the Greek State the amount which will be used for the recapitalization of the credit institutions. On 17/04/2012 the Fund signed with the Greek State and the BoG the Acceptance Notice for the deposit EFSF bonds into the Fund’s account amounting to a total of € 25 billion, which pertain to the recapitalization and revitalization of the credit institutions. The Fund’s share capital as of the financial statements’ approval date stood at € 26.5 billion (€ 1.5 billion in initial capital and € 25 billion from an additional capital increase on 19/04/2012). The capital increase took place with the contribution of floating rate notes (FRNs) issued by the EFSF.

Under the title “Prospects”, p.6:

In the following months, it is anticipated that the banks’ recapitalisation will start and will also be the Fund’s main activity for 2012. In order to respond to the capital requirements, the Fund has been reinforced with capital amounting to € 25 billion and is expected to be further enhanced (total authorized capital: € 50 billion), in the context of the loan agreement signed between the HFSF and the Republic of Greece.

Also, according to the “Note 10”, p.29:

The authorised share capital, according to amended L. 3864/10, amounts to € 50 billion resulting from funds which will be raised as part of the mechanism put in place by the European Union and the IMF to support Greece according to L. 3845/2010, and which will be gradually covered from the Greek government and included in non-transferable titles until the expiry of the HFSF. As of 31/12/2011 the paid in share capital totaled € 1.5 billion.

Participation of the HFSF to the Greek “systemic” banks

From the Annual Report for the period 1/1/2012 – 31/12/2012:

In the context of the settlement of the recapitalization, Piraeus Bank returned EFSF FRNs of nominal amount € 499.5m to the HFSF while following the delivery of 4,109,040,164 common registered shares the HFSF’s shareholding in Piraeus Bank reached 81.01%.

Given that the EFSF FRNs already held by Alpha Bank as an advance for its capital increase amounted to € 2,942.0m (nominal amount) the HFSF contributed additional EFSF FRNs of a nominal amount totaling € 1,018.5m. Therefore the total nominal amount of EFSF FRNs given to Alpha Bank were € 3,960.5 and their fair value as of 30/05/2013 was € 4,021.0m. Following the delivery of 9,138,636,364 common registered shares to the HFSF, its shareholding in Alpha Bank stands at 83.70%.

Based on the subscription in cash which reached € 1,079.1m (11% of total) and the fair value of the EFSF FRNs already contributed, NBG returned to the HFSF EFSF FRNs of nominal amount of € 1,291.7m. Following the delivery of 2,022,579,237 common registered shares to the HFSF, its shareholding in NBG stands at 84.39%.

Following the fair valuation performed on the contributed EFSF FRNs, Eurobank returned to the Fund EFSF FRNs with a nominal amount of € 113.2m. Following the delivery of Eurobank’s shares to the HFSF (3,789,317,358 common registered shares), the HFSF’s shareholding in Eurobank stood at 98.56%.

According to the Piraeus bank website, the HFSF held 81% of the outstanding common shares on September 30, 2013, while the Greek Public does not appear anywhere in the shareholder structure of the bank.

According to the Alpha bank website, the HFSF holds 8,925,267,781 common, registered, voting, dematerialized shares, which correspond to 81.71% of the total number of voting shares of the bank on Dec. 31, 2013, while the Greek Public does not appear anywhere in the shareholder structure of the bank.

According to the National Bank of Greece website, on June 30, 2013 shareholders structure, HFSF held 84.4% of the shares while 1% held by “domestic pension funds” and 1.7% by “domestic private and public sector companies”.

According to the Eurobank website, on Nov. 14, 2013, the participation of the HFSF to the bank was 95.2%.


BoD composition of the “systemic” banks

Piraeus Bank: 12 of the 16 members of the current board, among them chairman Michael Sallas, were also members since 09/02/11, thus quite long before HFSF participation to the bank. There are two representatives from the HFSF and only one from the Greek Public who, according to the bank's website, are not considered members of the board.

Alpha Bank: All members of the current board, among them chairman Yannis Costopoulos, were also members long before HFSF participation to the bank. There is one representative from the HFSF and only one from the Greek Public.

National Bank of Greece: 8 of the 13 members of the current board, were members long before HFSF participation to the bank, while it is not clear whether the rest 5 members since 2012, among them chairman George Zanias, had become members before or after HFSF participation. There is one representative of the HFSF and only one from the Greek Public.

Eurobank: A new BoD was appointed by the HFSF General Council following a selection process held by an international HR consultant. However, 6 from the 9 members of the new board were also members of the previous BoD consisted of 18 members. There is one representative of the HFSF and only one from the Greek Public.


From the information above, the conclusions are:

  • Most executives of the four “systemic” banks are still members of the boards after the HFSF participation, despite that the Fund holds now the significantly higher percentage of the shares in all of them.
  • Concerning the four “systemic banks”, a new BoD was appointed by the HFSF only in the case of Eurobank at the time where the Fund held 98.56% (now 95.2%) of the shares.
  • HFSF itself is a purely private institution in which the Greek Public has no power.
  • Greek Public's presence in the shareholder composition of the four “systemic” banks is minimal or zero.
  • Greek Public's presence in the BoDs of the four “systemic” banks through representatives is minimal.

It is proven that, the only "public" in the Greek banks are the guarantees by the Greek Public for their recapitalization. This means that, despite that the Greek Public has no power on banks' decisions and their investment choices, it will be called to pay the interest for the loans in the context of the loan agreement between Troika lenders and Greece.

It also means that, no one is able to protect the Greek Public from an additional damage in case that HFSF sell its shares to other banks or investors after a possible share-price significant fall.

It also means that, no one can guarantee deposits, especially after the decisions of the recent EU Summit and ECOFIN for the bail-in, while in case of a new banking crisis, HFSF will suffer significant damage - in case that will still hold the largest part of the banks' shares - because according to the bail-in "rules", shareholders must also participate in the bank rescue. Therefore, according to the best scenario, the Greek Public, as guarantor of the HFSF, will be forced to sign a new loan agreement to cover additional damage thus loaded with additional debt.

So finally, the only "public" in Greek banks is the debt that will be loaded on future generations!



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