The first time the phrase Emergency Liquidity Assistance, or ELA, was used in the context of Greece was in August 2011, when Greece was imploding, when its banking sector was on (and past) the verge of collapse, and just before the ECB had to unleash a global coordinated bailout with other central banks including global central bank liquidity swap and unleash the LTRO to preserve the Eurozone.
As a reminder, this is what happened back then: “In a move described as the “last stand for Greek banks”, the embattled country’s central bank activated Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) for the first time on Wednesday night.”
“Although it was done discreetly, news that Athens had opened the fund filtered out and was one of the factors that rattled markets across Europe. At one point Germany’s Dax was down 4pc before it recovered. The ELA was designed under European rules to allow national central banks to provide liquidity for their own lenders when they run out of collateral of a quality that can be used to trade with the ECB. It is an obscure tool that is supposed to be temporary and one of the last resorts for indebted banks.”
Raoul Ruparel of Open Europe told The Telegraph: “The activation of the so-called ELA looks to be the last stand for Greek banks and suggests they are running alarmingly short of quality collateral usually used to obtain funding.”
He added: “This kicks off another huge round of nearly worthless assets being shifted from the books of private banks onto books backed by taxpayers. Combined with the purchases of Spanish and Italian bonds, the already questionable balance sheet of the euro system is looking increasingly risky.”
We bring this up because things in Greece just went bump in the night. Again.
That’s not the bad news. The bad news is that as we also speculated, and as Greek officials tried to cover up as usual, the Greeks have resumed doing what they do best any time their country is facing a grand crisis: walking to the bank and withdrawing what little deposits they have left. Or rather running to the bank.
Which brings us back to the topic of the Emergency Liquidity Assistnace, which as Kathimerini reported moments ago, at least two Greek systemic banks have reportedly resorted to, indicating that the liquidity situation in Greece is once again as dire as it was in the depth of the European collapse.
And just like that, it’s deja vu all over again, and the worst days of the summer of 2011 are ahead of us once more, only this time Draghi’s “Whatever it takes” unconditional OMT bazooka has conditions, and anyway after today’s SNB fiasco, what a central bank threatens, warns, begs or even does, may no longer even matter.
Full article: The Greek Bank Runs Have Begun: Two Greek Banks Request Emergency Liquidity Assistance (Zero Hedge)