This is the sound of money creeping out of the Greek banking system. As taxes rise and incomes fall, Greek households are withdrawing savings to live on. Some are spiriting savings out of the country or stuffing money into mattresses, fearing a collapse of the banking system.
"We've seen a significant increase in deposit outflows, since this crisis began."
Philip Gergumus, a sales specialist in Greek equities of HSBC, says almost €46 billion have been withdrawn from Greek banks since September 2009. That represents just under 1/5 of cash deposits gone in 20 months.
"People have been worried about the sovereign debt situation and now worried about the stability of Greek banks and have decided to move their money outside Greece."
Greek banks have made up for the shortfall by borrowing €50 billion from the government. Their most critical lifeline comes from the European Central Bank, which has lent them another €50 billion and continues to accept their Greek government bonds as collateral. But banks haven't lent this money on to ordinary Greeks and their businesses. That's because the banks have already lent money to people who aren't paying their loans back. And because it's so hard to borrow money, people are reluctant to spend. Just as businesses are caught between the clashing rocks of dry banks and falling consumer demand, taxpayers too are feeling the pinch.
In some ways I am not the best person to give advice here, because whenever I have studied a language, listening has always been my weakest area. I have to say, my experience as a