The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is the first Greek bank that has managed to entirely eliminate its dependency on the European Central Bank’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA), bringing its ELA borrowing to zero, sources said on Friday.
The sources said the bank has not only managed to wean itself off costly ELA funds but already has surplus liquidity to draw on if liquidity conditions in the market deteriorate.
The bank achieved this strategic goal through an increase in deposits and an increase in funding from the interbank lending market via repos in the last quarter of 2017. NBG had already reduced its dependency on ELA funding to 1.0 billion euros in October 2017.
Eliminating the relatively costly ELA funding will allow the bank to focus more on financing the real economy and meeting the borrowing needs of households and businesses, the sources added.
The bank’s liquidity conditions are expected to improve further once it has completed its divestment from subsidiaries, such as the insurance company Ethniki Asfalistiki and subsidiary banks in Romania and Serbia, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.