May 17th, 2012
07:04 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Global investors inhaled deeply when Greek President Karolos Papoulias relayed a difficult call with the head of the nation’s central bank - since Monday, Greeks pulled around 800 million euros (around $1 billion) out of the nation’s banks.

"There is, of course, no panic, but there is fear that could develop into panic," Papoulias said, describing what Central Bank Governor George Provopoulos told him. "He also said that the strength of banks is very weak at the moment."

So how much money is in the Greek banking system? About 170 billion euros (more than $216 billion) at the end of March, according to the Financial Times.

Since 2009, about 25% to 30% of Greek deposits have left the country. That’s not good for Greece, but given the turmoil of the past two years, it certainly could be worse.

The amount of euros fleeing the country spiked this week after the inability of Greek politicians to form a coalition government, resulting in new elections in June. If polls prove correct, groups against current austerity measures could come into power - putting at risk Greek bailout deals and once again raising the risk Greece will leave the eurozone.

Feeding the flight of Greek euros is the fear is that if Athens reintroduces the old currency, the drachma, the worth of domestic cash will almost certainly crater – better to park them abroad and see what happens.

But was this a bank run? Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal provided this “reality check” by calling folks in Greece to check out the lines at banks.

“Right now I'm in the streets near the central square in my neighborhood where there are six different banks and I just went and checked all of them because there was this rumor that people are rushing to the banks to take their money and that there was no money left in the ATMs,” said Theodora Oikonomides, an unemployed aid worker. “Of the six banks, all (have) cash. There's a total of nine ATMs and there were less than one customer per ATM when I got there.”

For the past three years, euros have ambled out of Greek banks. The outflow of euros this week didn’t break into a run - more like a jog. But if it becomes clear that Greece is leaving the eurozone, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that doesn’t end up with lines forming outside of Greek banks.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. George M

    I am here and having argument s with my mother to do some thing with the money in the banks and even an aunt with a lot
    I think the first time money was taken it was Greece s tax cheats , The second it was Greece tax cheats this time it could be Greece s tax cheats
    I am with my mom and Aunt that pay Greek taxes

    May 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  2. george argiriou

    There is no 1 that can inlight mr very young and out of reality Tsipra that returning to drachma will be a disaster for greece.No market depents from what will happen to greece.I wonder why the stockmarkets in all over the world are related with what happens to Greece.If the greek people prefare to be distroid let it be.It is out of anybodys hand to put some sence to my people.The only thing that can help my country is that the worlds stockmarkets rise up to the sky.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  3. george argiriou

    You must make clear to mr Tsipras that the distraction of greece that he prepairs will have not have any effect to any country in the world.So if this is known to the greek people they may get some sence of the reality and they stay to euro.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  4. george argiriou

    I do not know what mr tsipras thinks about euro,but i know that in the inner country he is planning to take the peoples money deposites to the bunks and use them in a way that don't make sence to me.If in euro dept he is more bargening from the others i can exept that but us i can tell he is going to be a problem becouse i think that he will not be willing to make a step back no mutter what the consicuenses are.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  5. george argiriou

    We the Greeks we need help in the Euro and not out of it.Mr tsipras thinks he wants to be in the Euro but with his demands this can not be.

    May 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  6. george argiriou

    Why you did not printed my last comment saying that we can not take any decrise to our salaries?

    May 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  7. george argiriou

    There must be no more decrease in the salaries in Greece.

    May 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  8. george argiriou

    I hope that at the coming elections my people will vote the best people to lead us.

    May 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  9. JPap

    For the last 37 years (I'm 39 now) We (the Greeks), have being voting for those unworthy, useless, opportunistic power-craving "politicians" for just this one reason: they gave us money. we never asked where all these money were coming from. Now we know (plus interest). I really don't care about the currency in which we will pay our debts. The only thing I care for is: REforms, Greece now has a UNIQUE opportunity to reform the public sector, the education system, public health system. To get rid of all this beaurocratic nonsense, the corruption, the stupid self-fullfilling conclave of "politicians" who got us where we are now. We, the Greek people are to blame for what happened to us. We brought us on ourselves. Do you know what we will do on June 17? we will again vote for the same useless clan that will either have an "easy way out" (of the crisis not the euro) or the new lefties that do not have any clue of whats going on in the eurogroup (or EU) assemblies just because we want to punish the first ones. the reforms? they can wait for two or three generations (or we think they can wait if we have money in our pockets). We are a third world country attached by mistake in Europe. Instead of shouting for the values and ideals that fade away in our country, we cry and get angry for the crums they take away from us.

    May 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Ken Young

    Greece is a great country with wonderful people.
    Too bad you let your politicians make too many mistakes–joining EU, among others.
    I know you love your country, but the cold reality needs to face.

    1. Park your hard earned savings to other nations today for safety, &
    2. Get out of Eurozone. EU is no good for you, it is only good for bigger nations.
    Do not dream that they will keep feeding you. You & your next generations will become their slaves for life if you stay.

    May 18, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  11. Alberto S

    Yet another sign that the Greek population is not experienced enough with crisis management, they will still be jogging in place when the deposits freeze (corralito) is stated

    May 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  12. Matt

    Look at this way dudes start moving their money around in and out of the market there can be another GFC. Now the money they are going to make on floating new currency they will reinvest into the market and have capital in place to manipulate the market without any impact on their wealth. This is a lesson in organized crime, that is what happen when a bunch of dudes put their capital together for a common cause. They are going to make trillions and trillions, then when they made their money they can do it all again.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  13. Mike

    If Greece returns to the Drachma, it will be very advantageous for American to visit as tourist. If Greece leaves the Euro, and peace remains in the country, you can expect me and many other Americans flocking to Greece for fresh olives, great food, and of course, to spend lots of money. Right now, Greece is too expensive to visit while it's on the Euro.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  14. george argiriou

    A couple years ago economy was psychology.Now it is not.Now it is more complex,so i belifie that Greece needs a Priminister who knows the other laws of economy.I do not know who my fellow Greeks will elect but the future Priminister must know economy or start learning it.In such days there are hallow people who take advanche of the situetion as saviors.I hope for my country an economist and not a savior.Ofcourse we need economical growth and not a slow death.We need help and not a green mile.

    May 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
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    September 5, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  16. icons design

    I refuse.


    September 24, 2012 at 12:36 am |

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