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Greek banks to reopen on Monday, limits remain

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After bailouts in 2010 and 2012, Greece is once again edging towards financial collapse.

ATHENS – Greek banks are set to reopen on Monday for the first time in three weeks.

The banks were shut last last month to stem a rush of money out of the country’s cash-starved financial system. The government also set 60 euro limits on daily withdrawals, causing hardship for residents and often long lines at ATM machines.

On Monday, the 60 euros limit on ATM and in-person withdrawals at branches will continue, according to a statement from the Greek Finance Ministry. If weary Greeks don’t want to wait in line each day to get their 60 euros ($60), they also will be able to go, say, once a week and take out 420 euros ($455) — the weekly maximum — which is a fairly high cap since it’s more than many Greeks earn in a week.

The reopening of the banks comes as Europe’s central bank promised 900 million euros in new emergency funding for Greece on Thursday.

Formal negotiations on a new bailout — worth as much as 86 billion euros ($96 billion) — can now begin after several European parliaments, including Germany’s, voted in favor. European leaders agreed last week to offer Greece a new rescue — its third since 2010.

While the details of the bailout are being hammered out, Greece urgently needs cash to make debt repayments and pay other bills.

Europe is giving Greece an interim loan worth 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to tide it over. That won’t last longer than a few weeks, however, so the pressure is still on.

By Chris Liakos and Gregg Birnbaum