31 May, 2006
National Bank of Greece (NBG) chairman Takis Arapoglou on Tuesday stoutly defended an eyebrow-raising decision to purchase Turkey-based Finansbank, the seventh largest financial institution in the neighboring country, telling a relevant Parliament committee that such deals will ensure NBG's dominant position in the entire SE Europe region.
In beginning his statement, and in response to heated criticism domestically, particularly from opposition political parties and the press, Arapoglou said decisions by the bank's leadership aimed to ensure National Bank's independence, to maintain its control by Greek interests and its dominance in the local banking market.
"We need new dynamic markets in order to compete with major European competitor (banks), especially in our region, as there are very limited prospects in mature West European markets," he said, before the question-&-answer portion of the briefing.
"Turkey offers a unique opportunity for us to expand ... it has a population of 70 million and a high growth rate ... as well as improved macro-economic conditions after 2000"
Source: Athens News Agency