Alpha Bank chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos on Monday reiterated his group's rejection of National Bank’s offer for a friendly merger between the two banks, saying the terms of the offer were not to the benefit of Alpha Bank’s shareholders.

In a letter sent to the bank’s staff, the veteran Greek banker said that Alpha Bank’s board examined in detail National Bank’s offer and rejected it, taking in view the interests of its shareholders, its employees and customers.

“This decision also took into consideration the uncertainty caused by the current situation and the context of the offer,” Kostopoulos said, adding: “With the honesty and confidence established in our relations, we continue our effort, focusing on our work, ignoring rumours and speculations, most of which are not related with reality. With confidence in our principles and fully acknowledging our value, we continue are creative course together."

He noted that Alpha Bank, active amid a very difficult period for the Greek economy, is acknowledged by the domestic market as a strong banking group with positive prospects.

"With a history of more than 100 years and a remarkable performance, the bank is at the centre of attention and a leader in developments. The challenges we are facing today are many and uncertainty is on the rise. Our strong bases, shareholders’ confidence, customers’ preference and our workforce’s commitment, allow us to face difficulties with success,” he said.

On the other hand, National Bank chief executive Apostolos Tamvakakis, speaking to institutional investors during a teleconference, expressed surprise over Alpha Bank’s negative response to the proposal and said that negotiations between the two banks were in a very good level, without any negative signs over the final outcome.

Tamvakakis presented in detail all the positive aspects of the friendly merger, a move that could offer multiple benefits to both the two banks’ shareholders and the Greek economy in general, as he said. The National Bank executive said the entity produced from merger between the two banks would enjoy greater resistance against systemic risks and adverse developments in capital markets, with a core Tier I ratio of 10.7 pct. It would also have a capitalization of 9.7 billion euros, ranking amongst the 30 largest banks in Europe.

Finally, Piraeus Bank chairman Mihalis Sallas merely noted that such a merger could benefit the domestic banking sector and the Greek economy in general.