The European Central Bank’s decision not to increase the amount of emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks on 28 June 2015 forced the Greek government to impose emergency capital controls.
Greece reacted by shutting down its banking system and announcing a bank holiday which started on Monday 29 June 2015, as well as closing the Athens Stock Exchange and imposing strict capital control measures on cash withdrawals and capital transfer.
On 20 July 2015 the banks re-opened and gradually some initial strict measures were loosened as Greece negotiated and finally agreed on a 86bn bailout plan with the European Stability Mechanism in the mid of August. On 3 August 2015, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission announced the re-opening of the Athens Stock Exchange.
As of mid-October 2015, the main capital controls measures which are in force, are the following:
•Cash withdrawals from banks or ATMs are allowed up to a maximum amount of 420€ on a weekly basis, either in one or more withdrawals, from any bank in Greece or abroad. It is also allowed to withdraw cash up to 10% of money transferred from abroad by credit of an account at any bank operating in Greece. Foreign credit and bank cards issued abroad can be used at cash machines freely.
•The use of credit or cash cards and e-banking is allowed within Greece without restrictions.
•Bank transfers of money to destinations outside Greece are limited to 500€ per physical person and per bank on a monthly basis. Higher amounts (up to 2,000€ per physical person) may be transferred abroad in cases of serious health problems or extraordinary social reasons upon submission of the necessary documentation to the financial institution.
•Transferring cash abroad is limited to 2,000€ per person per trip. Foreign residents are not subject to this restriction.
•Corporations and businessmen may transfer payments abroad for specific transactions serving the public or social interest (including the payment of medical expenses, import of pharmaceutical products, as well as business payment transactions, letters of guarantees or credits up to 150,000€on a daily basis per client and within the limits set by the competent Committee at each financial institution separately) only upon approval by the Bank Transaction Committee of every financial institution.
•Money from abroad credited to accounts at financial institutions operating in Greece may be transferred, in whole or in part, abroad again.
•Opening a bank account is permitted for limited specific transactions and provided that no other existing bank account can be used for these.
•Students abroad: Transfers of up to 5,000€ (or the equivalent in foreign currency) are allowed every three months for accommodation and living expenses for students studying abroad or participating in student exchange programs. Such transfers must be made through electronic banking means to the student’s (or beneficiary) account. In case the amounts are directly credited to accounts of the owners of student residences then the permitted amount is increased to 8,000€ (or the equivalent in foreign currency) per three months.
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