Greece is preparing to re-open its banks for the first time in three weeks, with long queues expected outside branches across the country although some cash withdrawals limits will remain in force.
On Saturday, the government issued a decree ordering the lenders to pull up their shutters following a nationwide closure from June 29, which was aimed at preventing massive withdrawals amid worries over the country’s debt crisis.
Greeks will now be able to withdraw 420 euros a week at once instead of just 60 euros a day, and will also regain access to their safety deposit boxes. However, capital controls will stay in place.
The cautious reopening of the banks is aimed at restoring trust inside and outside Greece after an aid-for-reforms deal last week averted bankruptcy, Reuters reported.
The deal struck at a eurozone summit last week allowed the European Central Bank to top up emergency credit lines which the Greek banking sector needs to survive.
“The banks are ready and they will open all their branches on Monday,” a senior official at Piraeus Bank, Greece’s second-largest bank by assets, told Reuters.
“There might be queues because many people will want to withdraw money from their deposit boxes.”
Meanwhile, the head of Greece’s banking association urged Greeks to put their money back.
“If we take our money out of chests and from our homes – where they are not safe in any case – and we deposit them in the banks, we will strengthen the liquidity of the economy,” Louka Katseli was quoted as saying in a television interview.
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