Global Bank Run Begins in Greece

by Ferry Batzoglou
Spiegel Online
December 6, 2011

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending — and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. “In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale,” he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.

With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn’t managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: “Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth.”

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

The raid on bank accounts stems from deep uncertainty in Greek households which culminated in early November during the political turmoil that followed the announcement by then-Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou of a referendum on the second Greek bailout package.

Papandreou withdrew the plan and stepped down following an outcry among other European leaders against the referendum, and a new government was formed on Nov. 11 under former central banker Loukas Papademos. That appears to have slowed the drop in bank savings, at least for the time being.

Bank Withdrawals Worsening Crisis

Nevertheless, the Greeks today only have €170 billion in savings — almost 30 percent less than at the start of 2010.

The hemorrhaging of bank savings has had a disastrous impact on the economy. Many companies have had to tap into their reserves during the recession because banks have become more reluctant to lend. More Greek families are now living off their savings because they have lost their jobs or have had their salaries or pensions cut.

In August, unemployment reached 18.4 percent. Many Greeks now hoard their savings in their homes because they are worried the banking system may collapse.

Those who can are trying to shift their funds abroad. The Greek central bank estimates that around a fifth of the deposits withdrawn have been moved out of the country. “There is a lot of uncertainty,” says Panagiotis Nikoloudis, president of the National Agency for Combating Money Laundering.

The banks are exploiting that insecurity. “They are asking their customers whether they wouldn’t rather invest their money in Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Germany.”

Nikoloudis has detected a further trend. At first, it was just a few people trying to withdraw large sums of money. Now it’s large numbers of people moving small sums. Ypatia K., a 55-year-old bank worker from Athens, can confirm that. “The customers, especially small savers, have recently been withdrawing sums of €3,000, €4,000 or €5,000. That was panic,” she said.

Marina S., a 74-year-old widow from Athens, said she has to be extra careful with money these days. “I have no choice but to withdraw money from my savings,” she said.

Bad Loans

The shrinking Greek bank deposits compare with bank loans totalling €253 million. Analysts say the share of bad loans could rise to 20 percent next year, or €50 billion, as a result of the recession. This in turn will worsen the already pressing liquidity problems faced by Greek banks.

Nikos B., a doctor in the Greek military, has had enough of the never-ending crisis his country is going through. While the 31-year-old has a secure job, repeated salary cuts have made it increasingly hard for him to make ends meet.

He needs most of his money to make loan repayments for a small car. “How can I clear my account? There’s hardly anything in it,” he says. He started learning German two months ago and wants to leave Greece. “As soon as possible!”

Nikos pauses and looks down. He quietly utters words that must be painful for a proud Greek. “It would be best to change nationality.”

Bilderberg 2010 Agenda Leaked

Corbett Report

Veteran Bilderberg researcher and bestselling author Daniel Estulin has once again acquired a copy of the agenda for the annual meeting of the world’s power elite. In an exclusive interview with The Corbett Report earlier today, Estulin revealed what the Bilderbergers will be discussing at this year’s confab in Sitges, Spain on June 3-6, 2010.

According to the documents—which Estulin obtained from his sources inside the secretive group—issues to be discussed in this year’s formal deliberations are:

1. Will the Euro Survive?
2. Development in Europe: Europe’s Exit Strategy…On Hold?
3. Do We Have Institutions to Deal With the World Economy?
4. Greece: Lessons and Forward-looking Strategies
5. NATO and Afghanistan: The Practical Agenda for the Alliance
6. Iran and Russia: Economic and Financial Threats to the Alliance
7. The Consequences of War Against Terrorism
8. The Influence of Domestic Issues on American Foreign Policy
9.The Outlook for Japan’s Economy
10. The Future of the U.S. Dollar: Alternative Scenarios

That the Bilderbergers—essentially a talking shop for European and North American power players—are interested in discussing the current meltdown of the European economy should come as no surprise, especially as the group’s attendee list includes many of the key financiers and string pullers who helped steer Europe into the crisis in the first place. Past attendees of the meeting include current EU President Herman Van Rompuy who got the job as the first non-elected head of the undemocratic European Union after a special wine and dine session with Bilderberg steering committee members. Last year he heralded the beginning of global government, praising the increased role of G20 in dealing with the global financial crisis. Other key Bilderbergers include Jean-Claude Trichet, who, as head of the European Central Bank, was instrumental in helping to craft the current European bailout which itself is designed to incentivize the bankruptcy of Europe. Trichet, too, also recentlycalled for global government to regulate the world economic meltdown that his fellow Bilderbergers helped to create.

Those familiar with the Bilderberg group’s long-cherished dream of achieving global government through the creation of an international financial framework will be unsurprised to see that a debate on the question “Do We Have Institutions to Deal With the World Economy?” is the third order of business at this year’s meeting. Nor will it be a surprise when the question is inevitably answered with the standard globalist line that international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank need to be “strengthened” and even given enhanced regulatory powers as a result of the crisis they have brought about, exactly as Bilderberg observers have been predicting for years. Indeed, as Estulin himself notes in his latest book, Shadow Masters, former U.S. Undersecretary of State George Ball expressed the ambition of the globalists in an address to the 1968 Bilderberg meeting in Mont Tremblant when he stated that they were interested in developing a “world company” to take over the “archaic political structure of nation states”

Other items on the agenda are exactly in line with the issues and plans made at last year’s Bilderberg and those ideas debated at last year’s G20 Finance Ministers meeting, both of which Estulin was able to infiltrate with his inside sources. The fact that the Iran-Russia alliance is on this year’s agenda is doubly telling, not only because a strike against Iran was on the table at this year’s Trilateral Commission meeting, but because, as Estulin notes in today’s interview, it indicates that the real object of the Bilderbergers’ aggression against Iran is the destabilization of Russia, a country that has traditionally been a thorn in the side of the globalists.

Perhaps the only thing that is surprising about this year’s leaked agenda is that the secretive group, which has gone to great length to conceal itself from media and public scrutiny, has failed to take precautions to prevent Estulin and his sources from acquiring the information yet again. “I’m a little bit disappointed in the Bilderbergers,” he said on the line from Spain, where he currently resides. “I would think they would have taken certain precautions and measures, especially coming to my part of the world.”

While the agenda is only a guide for the larger group discussions and the real decision-making takes place among the core members of the group behind closed doors, it does serve as an indicator of the issues and events that are preoccupying the globalists at this sensitive stage of their operation, just as they begin to realize their dream of instituting global government by manufacturing a global depression. Even as these plans begin to come to fruition, the people of Iceland, Greece, and other developed countries are beginning to rise up en masse to throw off the yoke of financial oppression and key Bilderbergers are openly talking of their fears of a global political awakening.

This year’s conference marks a new level of exposure and opposition to the Bilderberg group itself. Daniel Estulin will be making an historic speech to the European parliament on June 1st along with Mario Borghezio, Nigel Farage, and other key MEPs. Then Charlie Skelton, reporting once again for the UK’s Guardian newspaper, will be taking part in a mass counter-conference where those opposed to the Bilderbergers and their secret proceedings will gather to draw attention to the group.