Macedonia Bank Calms Savers' Worries About Crisis
As the escalation of Macedonia's political crisis makes many Macedonians concerned about the safety of their bank deposits, the country's central bank has intervened to calm fears about a possible devaluation of the currency.
"I had mostly denars [in the bank] but I already withdrew them, converted them into euros and put them in a safe... I don't want to lose the money that I'm saving to buy an apartment," A.B., a 37-year-old bank employee told BIRN.
"I am worried that the state could block the banks at some point. I am not sure what to do but something must be done for sure," a middle-aged resident of Skopje told BIRN, reflecting economic jitters among many Macedonians about the knock-on effects of the political crisis.
The crisis took a turn for the worse on April 12 when President Gjorge Ivanov abruptly decided to stop criminal investigations against country's top politicians and their associates.
The controversial decision, as well as the insistence of the ruling VMRO DPMNE party on June 5 early elections without the opposition's consent, has sparked massive anti and pro-government protests.
The head of NLB Tutunska Bank, Antonio Argir said they had not registered a mass withdrawal of savings since the protests began, but he admits people are worried.
"When the protest started and the crisis deepened there was increased number of citizens who were wondering... We're not talking about a sudden withdrawal of deposits but only of increased interest among citizens who want to be informed - but are not withdrawing their money," Argir said.
The banking system "is stable and there is no need for fear", he added.
According to statistical data from March, Macedonian citizens keep 3.5 billion euros...