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Katseli: Greece could Lift Capital Controls by End of the Year

ATM machine in Greece.Greece could lift most or all capital controls imposed on bank deposits by the end of the year, under certain conditions, Hellenic Bank Association head Louka Katseli said on Saturday. Ms Katseli is also the chairman of the National Bank Board.

In June 2015, the Greek government introduced controls on bank withdrawals and overseas transactions in fear of a bank run amid the country’s economic crisis.

Speaking to Greece’s state broadcaster ERT, Ms. Katseli said that “most of the restrictions, if not all, can be removed in the autumn and towards the end of the year.”

She added that one of the conditions for removing the capital controls has already been fulfilled, with the completion of the first evaluation of Greek reforms by international creditors.

According to Ms. Katseli, the next step would be for the ECB to give Greek banks access to cheap funding by accepting Greek bonds as collateral.

However, she admitted that the two remaining conditions for the full lifting of capital controls — the effective management of non-performing loans (known in Greece as “red loans”) and the return of deposits in Greek banks — were not easy to achieve.

“The return of deposits is the most difficult condition, which means that it will take time, because people remain skeptical,” Ms Katseli underlined.

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