Greeks Rush the Banks; Lines Form at ATMs; Nearly $1 Billion Withdrawn in Past Week
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Without a government for the last eleven days, and amid mainstream discussion of a Euro Zone exit, the Greek people are realizing that the economic and political system as they know it is rapidly descending into chaos.
With massive jobless rates that have forced many into bartering to survive, and facing credit destruction across the entirety of the country that has led to shortages of critical supplies like life saving medicines, those with any money left at national banks are taking the desperate step of withdrawing as much of their savings as they can from a banking system on its last leg.
This is what it looks like when a populace plagued with uncertainty finally loses trust in the credibility of their country’s leadership and financial system.
Anxious Greeks have withdrawn as much as 700 million euros ($893 million) from the nation’s banks since the inconclusive May 6 election, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders yesterday, according to a transcript of the meeting posted on the presidency’s website today. Papoulias said he got the information from the head of the Bank of Greece, the central bank, George Provopoulos, according to the transcript.
Via Zero Hedge
Greeks line up at ATM’s across the country to withdraw cash:
As has been said before, Greece is the canary in the coal mine.
The debt has piled up across Europe and the United States. Like the Greeks, Americans will soon hit a breaking point from which there will be no return. When it does finally happen you can be assured that your local ATM’s and banks will be inundated with panicked depositors attempting to take possession of as much of their money as possible.
But once the lines start forming it will be too late. Banks will have no choice but to limit withdrawals and close their doors (even to safe deposit box owners), because they will not have enough cash on hand to meet demand.
The choice is simple: Either prepare now and have physical assets in your possession, or join the crowds and hope the government will come up with a solution to the massive outflows that will ensue when the bank run begins.
Considering the madness we’ve seen when people can’t get their hands on a Black Friday discounted Xbox or flat screen TV, our guess is that any solution the government puts forth to deal with the anger and frustration of people who can’t access their money will involve something like this: