Greek Credit Managers Face New Challenges

The financial crisis in Greece continues to unfold as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced today that it won’t approve Greek loans until a more solid agreement is formed between Greece and European governments, according to Reuters.  

While the predicament is ongoing, credit managers living and/or conducting business in Greece are faced with new challenges and tough decisions every day. “My job as credit manager has changed a lot,” said Lampros Koutsinis, credit analysis assistant manager for Samsung Electronics in Greece, in an email.

After the enforcement of capital control in Greece’s banking system, he explained, credit analysts are unable to use the well-known technical tools and methodologies in order to assess a customer’s credibility. “Qualitative information now is the dominant player to the credit game,” he said. “If you have access to bank information and good bank network ... you are one step ahead of the other credit managers in the market.”

As far as conducting business, Koutsinis explained that he follows credit rating rules and Samsung’s credit policy plan. He can accept later payments only from pan-European key account customers who have a pan-European or multinational presence. All Greek customers, he noted, have to pay in advance for new orders, and no extensions to payment terms (for previous invoices) may be accepted. For customers who live in Greece, their payments are executed through e-banking to Samsung’s account in Greece. Payments from customers outside of Greece are made to another bank account in England.

“The most difficult challenge is that every day I ... battle between my professionalism and my character and personal way of thinking,” Koutsinis said. “I am obligated to stop cooperation with healthy customers (before capital control) that cannot pay now (due to capital control). These customers are led to bankruptcy due to credit crunch and cash issues … and I can do nothing for this.”

- Jennifer Lehman, NACM communications and marketing associate

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