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Pressure works: Alpha Bank revokes decision to close branches on islands

Pressure by the local communities and outrage seem to have brought fruits. Alpha Bank has reportedly cancel its plans to leave three remote islands in the Aegean Sea without banking services and even cash.

“The message the islanders sent to Alpha Bank was received,” Dodecanese lawmaker Dimitris Gakis told local media and stressed the government intervention in cooperation with local communities that forced the bank to revoke its decision and close the branches on the islands of Lipsoi, Kassos and Tilos.

It was reportedly the intervention by deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis and Deputy Maritime Minister Nektarios Santorinios that had Alpha Bank to cancel its decision.

Alpha Bank announced last week it would close its branches on the islands of Tilos, Lipsoi and Kassos on September 14. the bank would also removed the ATMs, local media reported.

The decision triggered an outrage and the local co0mmunities turned to the central government in Athens.

Local communities and authorities said they are being treated like  “second class citizens.”

Mayor of Lispoi Fotis Magkos condemned the decision saying people will have to travel 2 to 3 hours by sea and under severe weather conditions especially in winter to reach a bank.

Sources of the bank tried to calm down the angry spirits and told mainstream media that the branches would close only over the winter time, while the ATMs would be replaced with modern ones. However, no official statement was issued by the Alpha Bank and pressure continued.

Alpha Bank is the only bank operating on these three and several other remote islands of the Dodecanese as it took over the the Cooperative Bank of Dodecanese.

There is still no official statement by the Alpha Bank that it has revoked its decision.

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