SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

August 26, 2011 08:16 ET

National Bank of Greece May Follow Bank of Ireland's Lead

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on Bank of Ireland & National Bank of Greece

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 26, 2011) - Troubled Greek and Irish banks continue to trade near 52 week lows as the difficult liquidity environment has halted growth. Greek banks may soon follow the lead of Irish banks, and rely on emergency liquidity assistance from the country's national bank to speed up progress. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Foreign Banking Sector and provides stock analysis on National Bank of Greece SA (NYSE: NBG) and The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) (LSE: BKIR) (Irish: BIR.IR). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.bedfordreport.com/NBG

www.bedfordreport.com/IRE

Greek banks have become dependent on the European Central Bank (ECB) for liquidity, borrowing at its money market operations by putting up Greek government bonds and other assets as collateral. Meanwhile, Greece's central bank has readied its emergency liquidity assistance to supply lenders with funds if the need arises, bankers said on Thursday. However no bank appears to have asked for money yet despite a cash squeeze. Ireland has been using emergency liquidity assistance to assist banks for several months.

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Bank of Ireland's reliance on emergency funding from the European Central Bank and its own central bank fell to 29 billion euros from 31 billion at the end of December. The company's underlying operating profit shrank by two-thirds in the first half of 2011 on steeper funding costs. The cost of the government guarantee of Bank of Ireland's liabilities rose 58 percent from a year ago to 239 million euros in the half.

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