If you have money in a Greek bank, now would seem like a very good time to get it out. Run, don’t walk. According to Open Europe, a sizeable majority of Germans have made up their minds to boot the Greeks from the eurozone if worst comes to worst after the upcoming elections:
[A]n ARD-Deutschlandtrend poll found that 61% of Germans favour Greece leaving the euro if it does not stick to the terms of its bailout. It also showed that 68% of Germans reject a haircut on Greek debt, with 28% in favour. A Greek GPO poll for Mega TV published on Wednesday found that 52.6% of Greeks believe Eurozone creditors will blink and give into Greek demands for debt relief if the negotiations are on a collision course.
That’s not good news for Greek banks, considering the circumstances:
A new poll by Palmos for TVXS found that 50% of Greeks believe bank deposits will be safe if SYRIZA win, while 34% believe they will be in danger. The poll also put SYRIZA well in the lead on 28.1% with New Democracy on 22.6%…In an interview with the WSJ, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis confirmed that €3bn in deposits has been withdrawn from the Greek banking system in the past two months. He also warned that political uncertainty is likely to undermine economic growth this year.
With 61 percent of Germans supporting a “Grexit” if Greece doesn’t meet its existing (and very onerous) commitments under the various bailouts, IMF programs and other agreements pertaining to its debts, a Syriza-led government will quickly find itself in a tough place. There is less chance than many Greeks hope and believe that they can get significant relief, and it will be easy for a new government to overplay its hand.That by itself may not be enough to trigger a Grexit or a bank collapse, but why run an unnecessary 25 percent chance of losing 50 percent of your money? Greeks can look next door at Cyprus and see how much better things went for those smart enough to move their money out of Cypriot banks before the crisis. Under existing EU rules it is very easy to open foreign bank accounts; having your money in a nice safe German bank, even if only for a few months, could be the smartest thing you ever did.For other investors, it’s worth noting that the logic here is simple and easily grasped. More and more Greeks, and especially smart Greeks with big bank balances who read newspapers regularly and perhaps manage corporate accounts as well as their own personal finances, will grasp it and act on it. Others with smaller balances might well just prefer to take most or all of their cash out of the bank and hold their assets in euros under the mattress until things settle down.Rule One of Bank Panics is don’t panic: if nobody panics the banks won’t crash and everyone will be better off. Rule Two, however, is Panic First. If you are among the lucky ones who get their money out before the crash, you will be protected. The government and the establishment media in Greece will be harping on the importance of Rule One; canny private savers and investors will more and more start thinking about Rule Two.