LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Central Bank told a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Thursday that it was not sure if Greek banks, which have been suffering large daily deposit outflows, would be able to open on Monday, officials with knowledge of the talks said.
Greek savers have withdrawn about 2 billion euros from banks over the past three days, with outflows accelerating rapidly since talks between the government and its creditors collapsed at the weekend, banking sources told Reuters.
The 2 billion euros taken out between Monday and Wednesday represent about 1.5 percent of total household and corporate deposits of 133.6 billion euros held by Greek banks as of end-April. Prior to this week, withdrawals had been running at 200-300 million euros a day.
Officials with knowledge of the discussions, which took place at a closed-door meeting of the euro zone finance ministers and the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, said the deposit outflow was the only thing mentioned by ECB President Mario Draghi during his intervention.
Two officials said that during the meeting, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem asked ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure if Greek banks would be able to open tomorrow.
Coeure answered: “Tomorrow, yes. Monday, I don’t know.”
Dijsselbloem, asked at a news conference after the meeting about the pace of deposit outflows in Greece, said:
“I cannot confirm those figures, but it is certainly worrying. If people are taking their money out of the banks, they are very worried about what the future might bring.
“It is strongly in the interest of the Greek people to reach an agreement. The responsibility for that lies with the Greek government. They have been put in office with a great responsibility, to look out for the future of their people, and the outflow of the deposits from the banks is a sign of great concern about that future,” he said.
Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Trevelyan