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40bn withdrawn from Greek banks since December

Louka Katseli, the head of Greece’s bank association, said some 40bn euros had been withdrawn from Greek banks since December by customers anxious over the safety of their deposits, seriously damaging the banks’ ability to function normally.

Katseli urged people to bring their savings back to the banks to support the financial system.

“If we take out the money from our safes and our houses, where, in any case, it isn’t safe, and we deposit it in the banks, we will reinforce liquidity,” she told the Mega TV channel.

Greeks are now able to withdraw a maximum of 300 euros at once until Friday, when a new weekly limit of 420 euros takes effect.

They can also use their credit cards for foreign purchases again, and certain exceptions to the capital controls have been introduced to help Greeks who are studying or undergoing medical treatment abroad.

However, most people remain unable to take out large sums, transfer money to other countries or open new bank accounts.

The capital controls are taking a heavy toll on Greek businesses, with 23 percent of firms saying they are seeking to move their headquarters abroad to improve stability and cash-flow, according to a survey released Monday by non-profit group Endeavour Greece.