13 Jul 2015

Restructuring the Greek banking sector with an empty purse

Daniel Gros / Willem Pieter De Groen

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Greek banks are close to collapse, even if a new bail-out programme is agreed soon. The deterioration of the economy means that their fragile capital position is deteriorating further. In this CEPS Commentary, Daniel Gros observes that any new programme needs to include recapitalisation, comprising possibly a bail-in and restructuring to get the banking system working again. With only a small part of the assets unencumbered and a government with empty pockets, the depositors might have to take a large part of the burden. As private investors are unlikely to participate in a recapitalisation, foreign official funds will be needed. A direct equity investment by the EIB or the EBRD could be used to transfer control rights, and special ESM bonds could be used to provide additional capital without entailing additional risk to the creditors.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS. Willem Pieter De Groen is Research Fellow in the Economy and Finance research area at CEPS.