National Bank of Greece
What could go wrong with investing in the National Bank of Greece (NBG), you ask? How about everything you could ever expect to go wrong.
Thanks to persistently high unemployment that makes the U.S. look like a picnic — including a new jobless record of 27.6% set in May — anyone banking on a Greece turnaround is delusional. Tourism numbers have ticked up a bit, as have exports, but the vast majority of Greeks remain out of work and with no practical use for banks.
Furthermore, the “shadow economy” of Greece where people do jobs under the table or sell items on the black market to tourists allows them to operate outside the tax code and conventional banking — which means some Greeks actually find a bank account more of a detriment than an opportunity.
NBG has seen revenue crumble and losses skyrocket, though admittedly the first quarter of 2013 marked a rare profit for the company as it looks to complete a bailout-funded recapitalization program. That could be a sign that the worst is over … but it also could be another head-fake in this Greek bank that has brutalized so many investors in 2013.