Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Banks in Greece

Bank of GreecePhoto from Aris Messinis/Getty Images

Normal banking hours are typically Monday-Thursday 8:00 – 14:30 and Friday 8:00 – 14:00. However, depending on the neighborhood, some branches close earlier and some open on Saturday and later on weekdays, i.e., banks at malls open until 21:00 on weekdays and 20:00 on Saturday.

Be aware that not all ATM/cash machines allow deposits or have an English option, so be prepared to complete transactions in person and in Greek.

Anyone interested in opening a bank account can do so with a Greek national ID or a passport from their homeland, which must be presented to bank employees on request for all transactions. As of March 2012, banks also have the legal right to request that customers show an original tax declaration (ekkatharistiko) as proof of income and payment of tax obligations.

*Last updated November 5, 2013

Banks looking to exit

Millennium Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, Geniki Bank (Societe Generale), Credit Agricole are all looking for buyers and wish to leave the Greek market. — Kathimerini

Greek Banks

Aegean Baltic Bank (cooperation with HSH Nordbank)
Agrotiki Trapeza Ellados (Agricultural Bank of Greece or ATE) *Will be sort in part to Piraeus (WSJ)
Alpha Bank
Alpha Mutual Bank
Bank of Attica
Bank of Greece
Black Sea Trade and Development Bank
Bank of Chania
Bank of Thessaly
Chios Bank (merged with Piraeus)
Cooperative Bank of Dodecanese
Cooperative Bank of Drama
Cooperative Bank of Evia
Cooperative Bank of Evros
Cooperative Bank of Heraklion
Cooperative Bank of Ioannina
Cooperative Bank of Karditsa
Cooperative Bank of Kozani
Cooperative Bank of Lamia
Cooperative Bank of Lesvos-Limnos
Cooperative Bank of Pieria
Cooperative Bank of Serres
Cooperative Bank of Trikala (website down)
EFG Euro Bank (merged with Ergo Bank)
Emporiki Bank (Commercial Bank of Greece, backed by Credit Agricole)*
Epirus Bank
First Business Bank
Geniki Bank (General Bank of Greece; Piraeus purchasing majority owned by Societe Generale as of October 2012)
Hellenic Bank

Investment Bank of Greece
ING Greece
Marfin Egnatia
Millennium bank (formerly Nova Bank)
National Bank of Greece
(Ethnikis Trapeza tis Ellados)
Pan Creta Bank
Panellinia Bank
Peleponnisou Bank
Piraeus Bank
Pro Bank
Proton Bank (Investments only)
T-Bank (formerly Aspis, acquired by TT Bank/Greek Postal in December 2011)
Taxydromiko Tamieytirio
(Greek Postal Savings Bank)
WIN bank

I listed banks according whatever name they used to refer to themselves, whether in English or Greek.

*Credit Agricole transferred all its Emporiki banks in the Balkans to its namesake on June 14, giving it license to leave the Greek market and let Emporiki fail should Greece exit the eurozone. — WSJ

Foreign Banks in Greece

Please note that a foreign branch in Greece often has no connection with the country of origin because of local banking and privacy laws. For example, you cannot make a payment on your American Citibank card from Citibank Greece.

ABN AMRO (merged with Fortis Nederland on July 1, 2010)
American Express

Bank of America (no website)
35 Panepistimiou
105 64 Athens
Tel: (210) 325-1901/19
Fax: (210) 323-1376

Bank of Cyprus

Bank Saderat Iran
Panepistimiou 25
10564 Athens
Tel: (210) 324 9577

Barclays Bank
Cetelem Bank
Cyprus Popular Bank
Deutsche Bank
Hypohypovereinsbank (Bayerische Vereinsbank)
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank of Albania (formerly American Bank of Albania)
JP Morgan Chase (Operates in cooperation with HSBC)
The Royal Bank of Scotland
Societe Generale (in cooperation with Geniki)
Tirana Bank (part of Piraeus Bank)

Defunct, merged or withdrew from Greece

AB Bank
Achaiki Cooperative Bank (placed in special liquidation as of March 19, 2012)
Arab Bank
Aspis (merged with T-Bank)
Banca Commerciale Italiana
Bank of Athens (consolidated with NBG)
Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) Paribas – withdrawing as of January 23, 2012
Chase Manhattan (purchased by Piraeus)
Credit Commerciale France (merged wtih HSBC)
Credit Lyonnais (acquired by EFG Eurobank)
Credito Italiano (became UniCredit Group; operates under Hypohypovereinsbank)
Dresdner Bank (became Allianz, now Commerzbank)
FCE (Ford Credit Europe)
GMAC (General Motors)
Grindlays Bank (now Standard Chartered; sold to Aspis)
Ionian Bank (consolidated with Alpha)
Korinthia Bank (merged with Peloponnisou)
Laiki Bank (see Marfin)
Lamias (placed in special liquidation as of March 19, 2012)
Lesvou-Limnou (placed in special liquidation as of March 19, 2012)
Midland Bank (purchased by HSBC)
NatWest (operates under Royal Bank of Scotland)
Omega Bank (see Proton)
Popular Bank (consolidated with Alpha)
Proton Bank (nationalized by the Bank of Greece in October 2011)
Scotia Bank
T Bank (liquidated by the Bank of Greece in December 2011; assets transferred to TT Bank)

I researched this post as best I could with all the mergers/acquisitions. Valid corrections or additions are welcome.

* Hat tip to: MBE, DJ and CO for their contributions

Greek Banks in the News

Lenders slapped with fines for improper practices
Greek bank bouncer
Banks abroad cautious of opening foreign accounts for Greeks” — Business Insider


  daniel wrote @ September 13th, 2007 at 15:46

Some banks are open on Saturday too…Alpha and Eurobank are open Saturday till 3pm in Kifissia as well as Alpha bank in Nea Pendeli..they might be other neighborhoods with banks staying open on Saturdays….

Moreover, Eurobank and Alpha Bank in Kifissia are open every day till 8pm.

Kat Reply:

Daniel – Thanks for letting us know. I amended the article accordingly.

  Wayne wrote @ September 13th, 2007 at 22:34

I know that there’s a bank somewhere in Papagou in Athens that stays open past 3pm on the eve before a holiday weekend!!! At least it did back in 2006. I was there to deposit money into the bank account for the Kazakhstan Consulate (which is in Papagou) so that I could get a visa for Kazakhstan. It was around 3pm when I left the consulate dejected, because I did not know about depositing the money actually at the bank — I thought I would pay at the consulate. However, I am walking up towards the bank, and I see someone go inside. I am thinking, “NO way…” Fortunately and unbelievably, they were still open. I deposited my money and got my visa. I was astounded at my luck given that it was the afternoon before the Easter holiday about to begin. Just my little story about banks in Greece…

  graffic wrote @ September 16th, 2007 at 21:02

Last week I opened a new account in Eurobank, and in one hour they gave me the account, the card for the ATM+debit card and also e-banking.

They didn’t speak english, and greek, etsi kai etsi: The guy didn’t know how to write Ισπανία. But the service was really good.

I also have an account in Agrotiki (ATE), I have a card for the ATM, but its not debit or credit, neither e-banking (When I opened it they didn’t have the option).

But there is an ATE ATM in every village and it has really low interest rates (as shown in Efkeria).

  Thomas wrote @ September 20th, 2007 at 01:33

The most annoying thing about banks in this country is that they don’t seem to know what to do with money orders. They don’t seem to understand that a money order is like a traveller’s cheque, and that it has been paid for already, and so represents real money. When you go to the bank with a money order from overseas, they make you wait a month … for it to clear! Clear from what account? I always ask them, but they can never answer.

  Scorpion wrote @ September 20th, 2007 at 12:10

Thomas, the reason they hold it may be because there are so many frauds being made of checks, traveler’s checks, money orders etc, that if they are not familiar with the check, they have to ensure that it is indeed legitimate. Sometimes this process can take up to 6 weeks.

Or maybe just because they like to keep your money and collect interest without paying out anything.

  Thomas wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 00:28

A bank that’s unfamiliar with cheques, etc?

Normally, if a cheque bounces (which a money order can’t do) they take it out of your account. You can have the money right away, before it clears, as long as you have enough money in your account to cover it. If anything goes wrong, they simply take their money back.

Banks are like casinos: they never lose.

I think the second option is the right one.

  Scorpion wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 07:47

Thomas, you are right that a money order cannot bounce (if not a fake), however, if it is a fraudulent one, it will not clear. For example (as you probably know) many liquor stores in the States sell money orders. There are companies that provide them in addition to the USPS. Money orders & checks are easily faked on high quality printers.

I’ve read about these big scams where people will buy your item on Ebay type sites and will send you a money order that is over the amount of your selling price, and then ask you to send them the rest of the cash. So, you cash their money order, and send them the rest of the cash (less your asking price). Lo and behold when this “money order” is finally realized to be a fake, you’ve lost the money you sent off, plus you will now have a problem with the bank for giving them a bogus money order. Check the FBI website or “money scams” sites. So, even though money orders are paid for, they still technically have to “clear” to ensure that they are legitimate.

I’m not agreeing with the Greek banking system because in a show of good faith, they could still give you the money and then hold it against your remaining money (freeze that specific amount) in your account.

But, hey remember this is “Ellada”.

  Thomas wrote @ September 28th, 2007 at 00:46

These are all good points, but the fact remains, the banks don’t even know what money orders are! They look at them in a funny way every time I take them one. They’ve forgotten what they are from the last time I showed them it. They call up the head office to find out what to do with them.

All of which they would still do even if they had heard of Ebay and such things.

  Dimitrios wrote @ September 5th, 2009 at 21:57

I was asking for a list of foreign banks in Greece but I received a list of Greek banks in Greece. What happened to the foreign bank list? Can you please let me know? Thank you.

Kat Reply:

Foreign banks are listed right after the Greek ones. Please take another look.

  Dimitrios wrote @ September 29th, 2009 at 18:11

I need to get into my account but the bank is telling me that I cannot do it unless I am there in Greece. I was there in the summer and we did open the account, so the rental payments of the house can be deposited into the account every month. I need to have access to this so I can check all the transactions every month.

I do not see the point how banking in Greece or this bank is behind in technology. My sister in law has an account with two other banks, and she told me that for her it is no problem at all to get into her accounts. Do I have to change banks so I can get all my problems solved? Can you please let me know? Thank you very much.

Kat Reply:

Every banking institution in Greece has its own rules and embraces technology based on willingness, not the demand of the consumer. Some banks are modernized; some are 20 years behind and like it that way.

When choosing a bank, it’s important to know in advance what you want to accomplish and if they can accommodate those needs before opening an account and giving them your business. Therefore, you will need to change banks if they don’t offer the accessibility you require from abroad.

  FMS wrote @ September 30th, 2009 at 22:22

The last time I needed to access my Greek bank account from abroad, I had no problems. That was with Piraeus Bank.

Many moons ago, I had an internet connection and email with HOL. I needed to collect the email from abroad, and couldn’t. When I checked with HOL, they told me: “Oh, we block access to all email accounts from outside Greece. You have to be in Greece to read your email!”

So, I see that parochialism lives on :-)

  Gowmukhi wrote @ March 20th, 2010 at 19:58

I m actually looking for a bank that will allow me to open an account while I m still in US. I plan to move to Greece soon, so it would be very handy to have a bank account ready before I land in Greece. Any help on where I can open such account?

Kat Reply:

Opening a bank account requires you to have an AFM (Greek tax number) in the majority of cases, which you can only apply for in person. In order to apply for an AFM (Greek tax number) as a non-EU citizen not married to a Greek/EU citizen, you need a residence permit, which you can only apply for in person in Greece. Therefore, you cannot open an account without being here.

I received your follow-up question. However, I don’t see the point of worrying about every scenario when you haven’t even applied or been approved for the ‘D’ visa at the Greek Embassy yet. Wait to see what they ask for, then follow that course.

  eagle46 wrote @ March 26th, 2011 at 00:27

You gave the proper answer about opening an account in Greece. We been there the last 2 years ago and we faced the same problems. Not easy communications with the Greeks today.

Kat Reply:

What makes it even more confusing is you can go to the same Greek bank location and get different answers and fees charged on different days. Thank you for your comment.

  Kari wrote @ March 28th, 2011 at 21:26

This is a bit off topic from the article, but I was wondering what your opinion is on getting a job at a bank in Greece? I took finance in school in Canada, worked as a summer student accountant at a bank in Canada, and now am working at a company that deals with client accounts, cheque cashing, and other similar bank functions. I want to move to Greece in the next couple years once I have paid off some debt here in Canada and am working on getting EU citizenship through my grandmother.

I’m wondering what the odds of getting a job at a bank are? I am learning Greek and have friends there who are helping me learn as well. And do you know salary-wise what I could be making?

Your website is amazing and extremely helpful. I am really thankful for any info you can give me about this.

Kat Reply:

Before giving an opinion, I need to state that I am a truth teller not a fortune teller. Even veteran economists cannot predict what the job market and Greece’s economy will be like in two years, but you should know the outlook is quite bad if you read the news or subscribe to my Twitter feed.

Having dual citizenship with an EU country will help you skirt the issue of getting a residence/work permit in Greece, and learning Greek is mandatory. However, nothing else you told me leads me to believe you are a viable candidate in competing with well-qualified Greek, EU and non-EU candidates who speak Greek fluently and already live and work in Greece. Why?
— As I say in “Value of a university degree,” you are disadvantaged in being new to Greece. You have friends, but are they connected?
— As I say in “The importance in speaking Greek,” the ability to speak and read Greek (and often English) is a given in Greece, not something special.
— As I say in “Common jobs for foreigners in Greece,” experience in and knowledge of the Greek market is expected. You don’t have any. Canadian banking laws are different than Greek laws so whatever experience you gain is not necessarily an advantage.
— As I say in “Should I move to Greece?” the job landscape changes daily, with educated experienced professionals amongst the jobless and homeless. The recession will worsen over the next 2-3 years.
— In “Jobs and salaries in Greece,” I talk about a friend of mine who works for an American bank in Greece.
— I looked at a chart two days ago that showed all banks in Greece but one logged record losses of 90 percent each in 2010. That’s frightening, and I wouldn’t expect them to be hiring.

Take a look at online ads and you’ll see the only banking jobs on offer are low-paid sales jobs or managerial positions that demand an incredible amount of experience. If you cannot speak Greek fluently, have no experience in the Greek banking industry and don’t bring any contacts to enrich your employer, your chance of negotiating a decent salary is slim. You should only expect a basic salary of 700 euros a month, especially since you’ll be up against people who will accept any salary for a chance to be employed.

That said, I am not a dream smasher. You could very well come here and score a great job and live happily ever after. I just want you to be prepared because being a foreign woman in Greece is not easy and I know a lot of women who have not been employed a day in their life, despite years of trying even before Greece fell on hard times. Even Greek women have a difficult time finding work.

  Cleo wrote @ April 6th, 2011 at 18:33

Are deposits in any International banks in Greece insured by the country of origin?

Kat Reply:

Depends. As I briefly say under ‘Foreign Banks in Greece,’ international banks are obligated to follow Greek banking and privacy laws. Meaning, the bank must abide by laws in both the country of origin and the country it’s doing business.

There’s no way for me to answer your question as each country and each bank has its own laws and regulations governing deposits and accounts. Given your profession, I would think you’d have more expertise in this area.

  Michele wrote @ April 13th, 2011 at 00:30

My husband and I would like to open up a bank account in Greece and potentially buy some property there. I noticed Citibank has branches there. Can we open an account from the U.S.?

Thanks for your help.


Kat Reply:

If you only want to open the bank account in the USA and use it to wire transfer money to a bank in Greece or access cash via ATM, yes. If you’re expecting to walk into a branch in Greece and conduct business through it like you do in the USA, no.

As I say in the article above, and somewhat reference in the previous comment, Citibank Greece and Citibank USA have nothing to do with each other due to each country’s separate and different banking laws. A friend of mine gives this example: “CitiBank Greece closed the accounts of all customers that they knew to be Americans several years ago. They will not open an account for Americans, or anyone who files a US tax return” because of conflicting laws.

You will find this to be the case with other banks, as well.

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