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Where The Greeks Are Hiding Their Cash

While today surprised some with its lack of images of Greeks standing in line furiously pulling cash from bank ATMs, as Bloomberg reports, Greeks are anxiously stashing cash in the most unusual places...

 

As Bloomberg reports, in the days after Tsipras’s election, the nation’s banks found themselves busy again...

The teller at National Bank of Greece SA leaned forward to tell one customer something he’s noticed over the past few days.

 

“Had you come in last week, without warning, I wouldn’t have been able to give you so much cash,” he said in a low voice to the client withdrawing 20,000 euros. “We didn’t have the money.”

And stashing it wherever they can  - that's not under the eye of the government...

He said customers coming in to withdraw funds ahead of the election were for the most part older Greeks worried about their savings, removing cash and stashing it in safe deposit boxes.

 

Another favorite for an older generation of Greeks is to buy gold sovereigns from the central bank.

 

On Greek said that he’d withdrawn 25,000 euros from the bank, taken it home, worked loose a tile in the bathroom and stashed the money there.

 

Another took the cash to his village and buried it in the garden.

 

Yet another fashioned a small safe box in the air-conditioning unit on his balcony.

 

“I can’t fault these people,” said Karavelas, 37. “They were obviously people who had worked hard for their money, with families and jobs, not oligarchs.”

And deposit runs continue...

The deposit outflows in the walk up to the elections would rival banks’ losses in 2012 when back-to-back elections in May and June fanned fears Greece would leave the euro.

 

“The story of the Greek deposits is not one of a bank run but a bank marathon,” said Andreas Koutras, a partner at In Touch Capital Markets Ltd. in London. “The smart money is long gone and there are few accounts with more than 100,000. The true barometer of fear is the amount of hard cash that is withdrawn, not how much is transferred outside Greece. This has gone up the past two months.”

And finally, if you are wondering why Greek Bank runs have not been greater so far...

Karavelas, the taxi driver, said he commiserates with his clients even though he has little to worry about. “I don’t have deposits,” said the father of two who still has his savings in the bank. “I have about 1,000, 2,000 euros in the bank and that’s for my children.”

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