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Greece's central banker has forecast that an eagerly-awaited recapitalisation of the country's crisis-hit leading banks could be delayed by a few weeks to May.
"The recapitalisation will be over in a few weeks," Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos told state television NET in a late Monday interview.
"According to the programme, it will have to be completed in April. I would say this date is slightly unrealistic, there could be a delay of a few weeks... it could go to the end of May," Provopoulos said.
The recapitalisation of Greek banks, who took a major blow last year in helping the country reduce its sovereign debt, is a condition for the continued release of EU-IMF rescue loans for Greece's crisis-hit economy.
A sum of 50 billion euros out of the total EU-IMF bailout fund of 240 billion euros has been earmarked for this purpose.
At least 10 percent of new capital must come from private investors to keep the banks from being effectively nationalised.
A key stumbling block to the process has been an ongoing merger between Greece's leading lender, National Bank, and third-ranked Eurobank.
Provopoulos on Monday acknowledged the concern of Greece's so-called troika of creditors -- the EU, IMF and European Central Bank -- that the new entity will both dominate the market and will be tough to recapitalise.
"(The creditors) do not like the creation of such a major player with a market share of around 40 percent," Provopoulos said.
"The troika says, and I can also say, that there will be a greater difficulty in a combined National Bank-Eurobank entity, with capital needs in the order of 1.5 billion euros or slightly higher, a very large sum under the current circumstances. So there is a concern that if private investors cannot be found, it will come under state control," he added.
Senior troika representatives are returning to Athens this week to resume an audit of reforms that was suspended last month.
Their report will determine whether Athens will receive a loan disbursement of 2.8 billion euros pending since March.
Provopoulos noted that even if a bank had to turn to the Hellenic financial stability fund for help, "it's not exactly state control."
"In the Stability Fund there is ECB representation, and the EU Commission, and the troika has oversight. In no way would the troika want a major bank to operate as a traditional (state) bank. I am also concerned and would not want it to happen. I do not think it will," he said.