Banks are preparing for “Grexit”

Published on 22 August 2012 at 14:01

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"Psssst!" whispers Süddeutsche Zeitung: Want to know the worst-kept secret of the bigUS and European banks? They're preparing for the worst: the exit of Greece from the eurozone and even the break-up of the eurozone itself, writes the newspaper. "An army of management consultants and lawyers" have been working for weeks on "the infinite number of things to do" in response to bankruptcy in Athens. Tasks range from how to manage riots in the crisis countries, where the safety of bank employees will be an issue, through to ensuring the stability of the hot lines for advising investors and preparing computer systems to reckon in drachmas.

The British Lloyds Banking Group has established a 'Euro Instability Committee' to come up with answers to loads of questions. Pragmatically, HSBC has verified whether its cash machines in Athens will be able to spit out drachmas. And, according to rumours, Goldman Sachs has a 'War Room' for critical situations in its London offices, named: "Room 17", after the 17 members of the eurozone.

The only thing to be sure of is that the industry does not want to repeat the experience of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008, where on the Friday before it really happened, “the simulations were cancelled, because they wanted to keep their powder dry ready for a real crisis."

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