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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-29

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK on social security reform
  • [02] NBG reports record 9-month profits

  • [01] PASOK on social security reform

    Main opposition PASOK on Thursday reiterated that the government is proceeding with dialogue on the all-important social security reform issue with a "hidden agenda" and by using such dialogue as a "ruse" to push through "anti-popular" measures.

    Speaking at a press conference shortly after the prime minister's address on Thursday to ruling New Democracy party's Parliament group, where he spoke on the specific issue, a handful of top PASOK deputies and top cadres reiterated the opposition party's standing criticism of the government moves.

    The press conference also came amid the first session of PASOK's new coordinating body, under the chairmanship of PASOK president George Papandreou.

    Former minister Theodoros Pangalos said social security reform is a "national issue" of heightened importance, although he said the government merely chose a "monologue" during Parliament debate on the issue. He also charged that the government failed to clearly spell out what it wanted to do.

    Besides Pangalos, PASOK cadres Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Nora Katseli, Yiannis Magriotis and Evi Christofilopoulou spoke at the press conference, with the leitmotif revolving around charges of a "hidden agenda" and an "ostensible dialogue".

    In terms of proposals to deal with the paramount issue, Christofilopoulou referred to PASOK's idea of creating a "national capital fund for solidarity amongst generations", which she said will not be funded by other funds' reserves but by special taxes on privatisations, among others.

    Caption: File photo of PASOK deputy and former minister Theodoros Pangalos. ANA-MPA

    [02] NBG reports record 9-month profits

    Ķational Bank of Greece (NBG) on Thursday reported a spectacular 66-pct increase in its nine-month net profits to a record 1.313 billion euros.

    Takis Arapoglou, the bank's chairman and CEO, said the bank's performance in the third quarter of the year confirmed the board's expectations of a dynamic growth of business in Greece and in the wider SE Europe region as well as Turkey. He said that in absolute terms, nine-month results have surpassed the Group's 2006 results.

    "Profitability of our subsidiary abroad covers more than one third of total profits in the nine-month period, with Finansbank the most significant contributor with net profits of 349 million euros. This result is very encouraging given the relatively early state of growth of the Turkish banking market and the dynamism expected to give to Finansbank a plan to expand its branch network by almost the double compared with its size before the takeover," Arapoglou said.

    The Greek banker noted that the group continued implementing its three-year business plan taking advantage of a strong capital adequacy rates and its strong saving base.

    Loans totaled 52 billion euros in the January-September period, up 29 pct from last year, while deposits totaled 57 billion euros, up 14 pct from the same period last year. The loan/deposit ratio was below 90 pct, one of the lowest internationally, offering the bank a strategic advantage during a recent crisis in international money markets.

    National Bank offered 2.9 billion euros in new mortgage loans in the nine-month period, up 17 pct from last year, with outstanding mortgage loan totaling 15.7 billion euros.

    National Bank operates at branch network of 593 units in southeastern Europe, with more than 8,500 employees, and was expected to raise its branch network number to 643 by the end of the year. Loans grew 74 pct in the region to 5.9 billion euros.

    Retail banking loans grew 76 pct in the nine-month period, while non-performing loans accounted for 4.9 pct of total loans. National Bank said its organic earnings in the January-September period totaled 128 million euros, up 34 percent from 2006.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of a National Bank of Greece branch in Athens.

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