The National Bank on Monday dismissed reports alleging it was considering an aggressive takeover bid for Alpha Bank, following the latter’s rejection of a merger plan with National Bank. Apostolos Tamvakakis, the bank’s chief executive, addressing an event in Athens, said aggressive moves were not in the culture of National Bank.

“The essential thing is that Greek banks must present detailed report and to commit with the European Central Bank over ways to repay the liquidity offered by ECB. What is the way out of their dependence from ECB’s help and from state guarantees. This is the new framework. It is here, in front of us. National Bank believes that the Greek credit system must take initiatives and to control its fate. To maintain its character as a strong regional force in Southeastern Europe, to maintain its wide network established in the wider region and not to sell its silverware. To protect the value of its shareholders, its workers and at the same time business activity in the country and to preserve its Greek origin,” Tamvakakis said, adding that “decision centers must remain within the Greek borders. We deeply believe this is a matter of national importance”.

The Greek banker added that National Bank has already taken initiatives towards this goal, by implementing a giant share capital increase plan, raising more than 3.0 billion euros, and with a friendly merger offer to Alpha Bank seeking to take advantage of the synergies that such a deal would have created.

Moody’s Investors Service, in a report, said it expected National Bank to return with an aggressive move to buy Alpha Bank.