The boards of Greece’s EFG Eurobank and Alpha Bank have approved a merger deal reportedly with a 500 million euro injection of capital by the Qatar Investment Authority.
They are Greece’s second and third largest banks and together will form the biggest lender in southeast Europe and one of the top 25 banking groups in the euro zone.
The merger raises hopes Greek banks will be able to sort out their problems without government help.
Shares of others in the sector shot up; it has been ravaged by Greece’s debt crisis and investors expect more such deals as the Athens government and the central bank apply consolidation pressure.
Meanwhile, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank continue to push Greece to come good on its promises
EU, IMF and ECB inspectors are in Athens to make sure Greece is cutting its deficit enough to receive its next batch of aid.
Reportedly they are worried there is a risk of Greece missing its targets.