Three Greek Banks Will Fail Tests

ATHENS – With Greece looking to use bank recapitalization funds to bolster its own revenues, three banks will reportedly fail European Central Bank stress tests.

At least 11 banks from six European countries, including those in Greece, won’t pass the region-wide financial health check, the Spanish news agency Efe said, citing several unidentified financial sources.

The results of the stress tests on 130 banks by the ECB are set to be unveiled on Oct. 26. None of the banks were identified yet.

The report didn’t give any details of how much capital the banks would have to raise and said this could yet change as numbers could be revised at the last minute.

The Greek banks though will suffer as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he wants to use up to 10 billion euros they were going to get so he can provide a backstop and take an early exit from bailout deals with international lenders.

The money would be diverted from what’s left of 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two rescue packages from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).

The Greek banks got into trouble three years ago when then Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, serving in a PASOK Socialist Administration, stiffed them along with investors, including those in the Diaspora, with 74 percent losses in a desperate, failed bid to write down the country’s debt to make it sustainable.

It also nearly ruined Cypriot banks and forced the government there to seek bailouts that came with the same kind of austerity measures that created record unemployment and deep poverty in Greece.

The euro fell on the report. The ECB could not immediately be reached for comment.

Efe also identified a Cypriot bank and possibly one from Belgium and one from Portugal. The exercise is designed to see how banks would cope under various economic scenarios, including adverse ones, and is likely to reveal capital shortfalls at some entities.

The ECB is carrying out the checks of how the biggest Eurozone banks have valued their assets, and whether they have enough capital to weather another economic crash, before taking over as their supervisor on Nov. 4.