Jittery Greeks Withdrew $898M on Monday
Panic could cause collapse of country's banking system
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2012 4:54 AM CDT
Updated May 16, 2012 7:47 AM CDT
Savers fear that next time, it could be drachmas.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As fresh elections loom in Greece following the failure of coalition talks, Greeks are starting to get their money out of the country's banks while the getting is good. Some $898 million was withdrawn from the country's banks on Monday alone, and economists warn that the country's banking system could collapse if a full-blown panic develops, reports the Wall Street Journal. Depositors fear that a Greek exit from the eurozone is imminent, and their savings could be at risk.

European officials fear that the vote next month will bring in an anti-bailout government, triggering Greece's exit from the eurozone, although a senior adviser to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy downplays that possibility. "We're not planning for a Greek exit, nobody is planning for a Greek exit," he told the BBC. "That would not help Greece, it would not help the rest of the European Union, and technically, by the way, it's an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. The idea of planning a Greek exit would risk being a self-fulfilling prophecy." Party leaders will meet today to set up a caretaker government ahead of the June election.