Some data on immigrants economic life in Greece
Posted by clandestina on 9 November 2009
This is a translation of this enet article. Many thanks to Efi for her translation.
Stapsa for clandestinenglish
The immigrants’ piggy bank
Immigrants work a lot, live in small apartments, don’t have credit cards, don’t go out much, do not take loans, but do use public transportation.
However, the lifestyle of immigrants living in Greece is not full of “don’t” and negations. Research shows that regardless of the financial crisis, they go on saving money and they take every opportunity for small housing investments. Data from Central Bank of Greece show that immigrants’ saving accounts outnumber the average savings of Greek citizens; out of a total of 300.000 bank accounts in Greek banks, the majority belongs to Albanian depositors.
394 million Euros in bank transfers.
In contrast to previous years, immigrant depositors seem to increasingly trust Greek banks. According to the Central Bank of Albania, there is a 6, 1% decrease in deposits in comparison to last year. Even though international bank transfers have decreased from January until June 2009, the total amount of remittances has reached 394 million Euros.
The immigrants still save money. D. Aspassios comments that, according to data collected from research interviews conducted for the Department of Balkan Studies, West Macedonia University, “there is a significant increase in the number of immigrants who currently own a savings account compared to their first working years in Greece”. Immigrants save money in order to make future buys and investments in Greece. Most of the participants in Aspassios’ research stated that they were still sending money to accounts in their home countries, but the amounts are smaller than in the past years.
According to real estate agencies in Attica, in the first months of 2009, 40% of available housing -mainly older constructions- was mostly sold to Albanian citizens.
It seems that the financial crisis is not affecting immigrants that much both because they are adopting more flexible consumption attitudes than the indigenous Greeks, and they adapt their saving strategy accordingly.
However, immigrants’ consumption attitudes are based on the products’ price than on quality- with the exemption of foods (source: “Survey on consumer habits and standards in culturally diverse groups”- Cross-cultural management and technological improvement).
Credit cards and loans
Immigrants don’t like taking loans, neither from Greek banks (85%) nor from banks based in their country of origin (92, 7%). 68% of them do not have or use credit cards, although some of them have cash cards. It is not coincidental that most immigrant entrepreneurs in Northern Greece start up their businesses without taking any bank loans. They support their start- ups either through prior personal capital savings or though intrafamily loans.
Moreover, one third of immigrant women “cannot save money, since income is not enough”. 53, 1% of the remaining two thirds prefer opening a savings account in a Greek bank; a smaller number of women sends money to relatives in the country of origin. Female immigrants either do not use or do not trust banking systems.