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June 29, 2015

 
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Bank Closures in Greece
 



 

 

Greece's finance ministry announced late June 28 that the strict withdrawal limits imposed by the government will not apply to holders of credit or debit cards issued in foreign countries.

 
 
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Updated Information

Greece's finance ministry announced late June 28 that the strict withdrawal limits imposed by the government will not apply to holders of credit or debit cards issued in foreign countries.

Financial officials had earlier in the day announced that banks throughout the country will remain closed June 29 through July 6; ATMs will be inoperable on June 29 and will be subject to a daily withdrawal maximum of EUR 60 (USD 65.90) to Greek citizens only once they reopen on June 30. Additionally, the Athens stock exchange will not open on June 29, and there are unconfirmed reports that it will not resume operations until July 7. While a formal announcement from the government regarding these developments is forthcoming pending the outcome of a cabinet meeting, additional capital control measures may also be implemented as the country's financial situation warrants, including the suspension of check-cashing and money transfers outside of the country. 

The banks' closure and withdrawal restrictions could still lead to disruptions to financial services throughout the country, despite the fact that imposed capital control measures will not applicaple to anyone wishing to make transactions and withdrawals with a credit card issued in their home country. Long queues at ATMs are ongoing late June 28 as people seek to withdraw cash ahead of the bank closures and capital controls; further, there are also reports of shoppers stocking up on food and essential supplies. Businesses may also close without warning due to a lack of cash or constrained access to liquid assets, and goods shortages remain possible as well. Meanwhile, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and German Foreign Ministry have advised those traveling to Greece to ensure that they have adequate supplies of cash on hand. 

The decision to institute capital controls will likely be extremely unpopular, and could lead to demonstrations against the European Central Bank and the government alike. Petty crime, particularly robberies or thefts, may increase during the banks' closure. 

Background

The Greek government and the European Central Bank (ECB) have been unable to agree upon terms aimed at servicing the country's debt. The ECB has put forth fiscal austerity measures and increases in value-added taxes (VAT) in exchange for debt relief; however, the Greek government has rejected these measures as coercive and advised the citizenry to reject them during an upcoming July 5 referendum. Greece is overwhelmingly likely to default on a scheduled June 30 payment of USD 1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund, and negotiations largely collapsed on June 26. Meanwhile, the ECB announced on June 28 that it would maintain emergency liquidity assistance at the same level - a rate unlikely to meet the increased demand for cash.

Advice

Consider carrying an adequate supply of cash if operating in Greece or preparing to travel there, despite the fact that foreigners will be exempt from the capital control measures. Exercise a high degree of caution if carrying large amounts of money. Avoid all demonstrations.

As always, if you encounter a medical, security or any other type of emergency while traveling, contact Assist America 24/7 for assistance.



 

 
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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.


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