Emporiki Bank, a member of Credit Agricole Group, has no plans to participate in a restructuring trend of the Greek banking system, Credit Agricole’s chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet said on Thursday.

In comments made to Reuters, the chief executive of the French group stressed its goal was the return of Emporiki Bank to profitability in 2012.

Meanwhile, speculation over developments in the domestic banking system continued flowing one week after Alpha Bank rejected National Bank’s merger proposal. Efthimios Bouloutos, chief executive of Marfin Popular Bank said 2011 would be a starting year for mergers between banks in Greece and noted this was needed to creating larger groups with scale economics in order to have healthy competition in the market.

Bank of Greece governor, George Provopoulos, speaking in Parliament early in the week said 2011 would be a restructuring year for the banking system, while Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou also said he supported changes in the banking system and the creation of larger banks, capable of accessing the interbank market and not relying solely on the European Central Bank’s funding operations.

Finance Deputy Minister Dimitris Kouselas, commenting on developments in the banking sector said the government could not intervene in the terms and the preconditions in talks between banks.

The bank workers' union OTOE said any talk of merger between banks should have an integrated business and social plan fully justifying their purpose.