ATHENS, June 15 (Reuters) - Greek banks saw deposit outflows of about 400 million euros ($449 million) on Monday as the pace of withdrawals picked up from last week after talks with the country’s creditors over an aid-for reforms deal broke down on Sunday, bankers said.
“There is worry but the outflows were rather contained, not as bad as feared in the context of a bad climate after negotiations hit an impasse,” one banker told Reuters, declining to be named.
“For the system as a whole, Monday’s outflow is estimated at around 400 million euros,” the banker said.
Athens’s tortuous talks with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund over the last five months have fed uncertainty and fears that capital controls could be introduced, unnerving savers who have been withdrawing around 200-250 million euros daily from Greek banks in recent weeks.
As the withdrawals continued, a senior Greek banker said the country’s only choice was to stay in the euro zone as an equal partner even if it meant a painful agreement with its creditors.
“Sign a painful agreement which all ought to support. Buy time, rebuild trust and implement a national policy of growth and social justice,” Eurobank board Chairman Nick Karamouzis said in a tweet on Monday.
Deposits have been dropping steadily since October, with the liquidity squeeze making Greek banks dependent on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the domestic central bank.
Based on the latest official data, including April outflows, business and household deposit balances have fallen to their lowest level since September 2004. May’s data will be released by the Bank of Greece later this month.
Banks saw outflows of 12.25 billion euros in January, 7.57 billion in February, 1.91 billion in March and 4.89 billion in April.
The ceiling on emergency liquidity (ELA) banks can draw from the domestic central bank against collateral, which is reviewed by the European Central Bank on a weekly basis, currently stands at 83 billion euros.
The ECB has raised the cap in increments, keeping pressure on Athens to strike a deal with its creditors over economic reforms required to unlock remaining aid under Greece’s 240 billion-euro bailout programme. (1 US dollar = 0.8899 euro) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Hugh Lawson)