Current Weather
The Spy FM

A Front-Row Seat At A Bank Run

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
June 1, 2012

A decade ago, investors thought Greece would flourish on the euro. Money poured in, and banks started lending it out. Thefilos Papacostakis, a bank teller at Alpha Bank in Thessaloniki, got to hand out a lot of that money.

Last month, Thefilos says, his bosses called him in for a meeting. They told him things were about to get worse. When countries are in this kind of trouble, the bosses said, people panic and pull their money out of banks.

A few weeks ago, his customers started calling: “They say, ‘Thefilos, tomorrow I’m going to need 50,000 euros, cash.’

“I say, ‘Maybe cashiers check.’

“‘No, no. Cash.’

“…And then half an hour later, somebody else will say, ‘Thefilos, I need 200,000 euros.’”

Bank runs can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. People see other people pulling their money out, and they rush to do the same. So at first, Thefilos was angry when he saw people pulling their money out of the bank.

But after a couple weeks of counting out stacks euros and sending customers’ money to other countries, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal.

“It’s like a doctor,” he says. “The first time he makes a surgery he throws up and faints. And then after the thousandth operation, he doesn’t feel any difference.”

Thefilos says he doesn’t have much money himself. But if he did, he might have pulled it out of the bank already. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

2PM to 3PM PRI's The World

PRI's The World

Get a fresh perspective of people, events and trends that shape our world. Host Lisa Mullins covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, technology, sports, art and music.

Listen Live Now!

3PM to 6PM All Things Considered

All Things Considered

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present the program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features.

View the program guide!

6PM to 6:30PM Marketplace

Marketplace

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, award-winning Marketplace is public radio's daily magazine of business and economics.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center