The chief executive officer of Greece's largest lender expects that the emergency liquidity assistance given by the European Central Bank (ECB) will end in 2018.
"We have increased our deposits significantly. We are above the year-end of 2016. We reduced the emergency liquidity assistance that the banks are receiving from the ECB as well, and we are looking to take it down to zero by the end of 2018," Christos Megalou, CEO of Piraeus Bank, the country's largest bank by assets, said about the lender's performance this year.
Piraeus is one of the Greek credit institutions considered solvent but facing "temporary" liquidity problems due to several years of economic crisis in the region. Thus it benefits from the so-called ELA (emergency liquidity assistance), which is credit from the central bank to be used in exceptional circumstances.
Megalou said Wednesday that 2018 should be a "good year for the Greek economy."
"I do expect 2 percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth, I do expect the liquidity to increase and emergency liquidity assistance to reduce significantly and this is a positive effect also on the profitability of the banks," Megalou said in an interview in Athens.
The Greek economy has had three consecutive quarters of growth this year and according to government data out earlier this week, Greece's economy expanded 1.3 percent on a yearly basis during the third quarter.