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Greece Examines Lifting Banking Limits After Bailout Exit

As Greece prepares to exit its bailout program in August, the government is looking into ways to further ease and ultimately lift capital controls with emphasis on business activity and liquidity.

The process is expected to be carried out in two phases with relevant decisions during this summer’s two Eurogroup meetings in June and July.

Government priorities for the post-bailout period include removing limits on cash withdrawals, which together with no restrictions on opening new accounts will lead to the complete liberalization of domestic transactions. Ministry plans also include increasing capital ceilings for transfers abroad, which will be the last to be lifted.

In this direction, Greek banks are preparing proposals to be submitted at the end of the month to the Bank of Greece. Higher liquidity, a positive economic climate and a reduction of non-performing loans must be in place in order for the banking restrictions to be eased.
Capital restrictions were introduced in June 2015.

The government is also examining the option of setting up cooperative banks operating on a regional level with the aim to finance small and medium-sized enterprises.

Under regulations implemented in March, there are no restrictions on opening new accounts for businesses and individuals while bank account holders can withdraw a lump sum of 2,300 euros a month.

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