|Tuesday, 20 March 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-11-12
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Pressure on Banks for Interest RatesPressure has been stepped up on Banks in order to decrease high interest rates on consuming loans and credit cards. Following the PM's stern warning to bankers, as per which what they have done is not enough, in its letter to the National Bank of Greece, the Bank of Greece has asked it to withdraw immediately the new terms it had implemented on credit card owners. Meanwhile, the FBBank has re-adjusted its interest rates.
In its letter, the Bank of Greece asks for the withdrawal of the terms which allow for the re-adjustment of interest rates on the basis of 14 indices and also allow a 30-day time limit to accept the new contract with the alternative choice the full settlement of the debt.
It is worth mentioning that on 7 November, Development Minister Christos Folias asked from the National Bank of Greece to stop that policy, otherwise sanctions would be implemented. Following the European Central Bank's decision to decrease its basic interest rate by 0.50% recently, FBBank has re-adjusted the bank's interest rates that are related with the basic interest rate of the European Central Bank.
As per the announcement, the interest rate of the "Europremium" deposit account has been re-adjusted to 3.50%, while the interest rate of the Value deposit account has been re-adjusted to 3.50% for sums over β¬5,000.
The floating rates of housing loans that are related to the interest rate of the European Central Bank will drop by 0.50%, while housing loans with a steady interest ready will not change for 3.5 and 10 years respectively.
Meanwhile, the President of the Professional Chamber of Commerce Michalis Zorpidis has sued banks for re-adjusting arbitrarily interest rates of loans given to professionals and enterprises.
In parallel, he asked from the Competition committee to intervene, calling on consumers to stop using credit cards.
News item: 15455
 PASOK-Government Wrangling over BanksSocialist leader George Papandreou wrapped up Wednesday his talks with bankers. Commenting on the talks and the developments in the banking sector, PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papakonstantinou stressed that the measures taken by some banks were not enough to address the people's problems, further adding that the state's legislative intervention was required. He also said that PASOK would vote against the government's package aimed at supporting market liquidity, for, as he said, the plan failed to guarantee that the money would be return to the people of Greece. Papakonstantinou then called on the government to stop sending messages to banks and start undertaking the required initiatives.
At the same time, the government spokesman blasted the Socialist leader for creating impressions, without being convincing.
"After pretending for so long or not knowing there is a global financial crisis, he is rushing to take a stand in a way that for those who know convinces no one," said Antonaros, further adding that the overwhelming majority (80 percent) of the proposals he unveiled on Sunday are initiatives and measures the government has already heralded and many of them have already been voted and are being implemented. He then blasted Papandreou for trying to create impressions, without being convincing, without having to propose something new.
Commenting on Antonaros' claims, Papakonstantinou asked the government spokesman what exactly the government was doing to address the crisis and what measures it took to support the low-income earners.
Sources: NET-NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 15457
 Marches-MobilizationsWritten by Μπέτυ Σαβούρδου
Pensioners of private and public sector staged a protest demonstration at Kotzia square and a march to the Finance Ministry on Wednesday morning where they submitted their demands in written: Lowest pension β¬1.120, abolition of VAT for products of everyday need,rise in non-taxable income to β¬16.000. The demonstration was organized by pensioners' cooperating federations.
State hospitals are operating with skeleton staff as hospital doctors are staging work stoppages. Social security funds' employees apart from ones working at IKA fund are staging a 24-hour strike. Pensioners of private and public sector also staged another demonstration at Kotzia square this morning.
News item: 15450
 Athanasopoulos: I'll Quit If AskedThe PPC head's call for hikes in power rates has sparked reactions. Athanasopoulos, who has been blasted by both government officials and the opposition parties, denied rumours that he had resigned, stressing, however, that he would tender in his resignation were the government to ask him to do so.
"I want to have the opportunity to offer much more to PPC (Public Power Corporation). Therefore, I have not submitted my resignation," said Athanasopoulos, further adding that he would do so if asked by the Prime Minister and the relevant Ministers.
Asked whether he would resign if the Prime Minister asked him to do so, he said:"First of all, the Prime Minister has honoured me by giving me the opportunity to serve PPC from this post. Not only will I honour his request, but I will also support it and work alongside with the government and the PPC executives for a smooth transition. This is every executive's duty."
Touching on the hikes in PPC rates, Athanasopoulos claimed: "I think you are not addressing the matter correctly, you are addressing it unilaterally. We are not talking about hikes here, we are talking about what must be done so that PPC, Greece's most importance corporation, can survive the deadlock it has reached. Every nation needs a really strong national corporation in the power sector. Therefore, my proposals are to that end."
Asked whether the ongoing hikes reported in the last months were excessive, the PPC head argued: "The hikes are excessive, they are really huge for those who cannot afford them. However, power supply is costly. If this cost is not paid today, we will have to pay more tomorrow. In my capacity as a PPC executive, I am obliged to propose what it is right for the interested parties to decide. The responsibility of the decision lies with the board, the General Assembly and the state. But this should not stop me from doing what is right."
Several government officials distanced themselves from Athanasopolos' proposals.
"The heads of corporations have a limited standpoint relating to their own sector. But when the sector concerns the society as a whole and falls under the government policy, it must be understood that they can suggest, but the government decides," said Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.
"The banks and certain public corporations should realise that profit is not everything. And they should also contribute to alleviating citizens, demonstrating social sensitivity and generosity," stressed Culture Minister Michael Liapis.
On Tuesday, Development Minister Christos Folias underlined that only the government takes decisions on hikes.
Asked on the matter, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros reiterated that the Minister takes decisions, further arguing that the government is not aware of the PPC business plan, as it is to be released on 18 November.
Sources: NET-NET105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 15463