Even if the deal goes through, the combined entity will only have core Tier 1 capital of about 10.7% and slightly more loans than deposits.
This may be good for Greece in the long term -- the combined bank is still stronger than either institution would be on its own -- but in the short haul, the very fact that even NGB is negotiating from such a position of weakness only reveals how far Greece has fallen and how far it has left to recover.
The New York Times Business Day 2 Banks in Greece End Planned Merger Published: January 21, 2002 Archive Article
ATHENS, Jan. 20 — A planned merger of Greece's two largest banks, the biggest deal in Greek history, fell apart on Saturday when the banks called off their talks, citing ''radical differences'' in management styles that had blocked progress.
The proposed all-stock deal would have combined the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank into a single institution with a market value of about $9 billion. The government had enthusiastically favored the deal, hoping it would create a Greek bank big enough to hold its own in competition with banks across Western Europe that now share a single currency, the euro, and that it would encourage other Greek industries to consolidate.
Analysts had been skeptical of the prospects, in part because Greek labor laws make shedding redundant workers to cut costs after a merger extremely difficult. The final sticking point in the talks was the number of senior and middle-management posts in the new institution to be assigned to Alpha executives.