Piraeus CEO: Greek banks will be Europe's best

'Non-performing loan saga' coming to end: Piraeus Bank CEO

The CEO of one of Greece's largest banks told CNBC that the country was past the stage of "worry and panic", and that Greek banks would soon be the best capitalized in Europe.

Anthimos Thomopoulos, the CEO of Piraeus Bank, was speaking as Piraeus became the first bank in Greece to raise new capital in the public markets since the start of the euro zone crisis. Piraeus will tap the markets for 1.75 billion euros ($2.43 billion) in an effort to pass new Europe-wide tests on its financial stability.

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One year on from the banking crisis in nearby Cyprus, Thomopoulos said there was no likelihood of such an event occurring in Greece again.

"Banks are a lot more stable. I think some of the Greek banks will end up being some of the best capitalized banks in Europe, post these capital exercises coming to the market," he said.

He added: "We are over the worst."

Thomopoulos said there was clear investor appetite for Greek securities. "Last time I was on the road trying to raise capital six months ago, at that time we were talking about hopes that the country would start rebounding, but now we're talking about facts," he said.

"So there's a lot of positives. I'm convinced there will be overwhelming support to the equity-raising initiatives that the banks in Greece are taking, as well as our bond issuances that are coming up in the next few weeks."

(Read more: Why bottom-fishing hedge funds may soon turn away from Greek banks)

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When Thomopoulos was on CNBC in September 2013, he said Greek non-performing loans (NPLs) – loans that are in, or close, to default – were still rising, and that the situation was "ugly".

This Monday, he said the growth in NPLs in the country seemed to be abating at last.

"It seems that everything points towards the end of this saga," Thomopoulos said. He added: "This is across the industry for all banks, so this is telling of the improvement that is taking place on the ground."

Thomopoulos also said there had been some tentative signs in terms of credit expansion. SMEs (small-to-medium-size enterprises) were beginning to return to banks for financing, he said, particularly those businesses driven by exports.

"We are obviously very choosy," Thomopoulos said, regarding lending, "But we do support those initiatives."

Thomopoulos praised the current Greek coalition government under the leadership of New Democracy's Antonis Samaras. He said the coalition had governed very positively and "ticked all the boxes."

He added that he did not see this year's local and European elections disrupting the political climate, and hinted that far-right, anti-European Union movements such as Golden Dawn were not a threat.

"The good news in the Greek political scene is that the political spectrum seems to be consistently in favor of Greece's European future," Thomopoulos said. "So there might be various ways to look at the future, but there's a consistent message from across the political spectrum that Greece should remain a member of the EU and euro zone. So I think that's the silver lining."

—By CNBC's Kiran Moodley. Follow him on Twitter @kirancmoodley