Minos Zombanakis, Chairman, Group for International Study & Evaluation
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Minos Zombanakis, Chairman, Group for International Study & Evaluation

Minos Zombanakis is a pivotal figure in the history of the Euromarket. Known in the 1970s simply as "the Greek banker" (he was reckoned to be the only one of any note on the international scene), he was a combination of financial visionary, smooth salesman and masterful self-promoter. As one rather hostile magazine article remarked about his assault on the syndicated loans market: "It was one part nerve, one part histrionics and several parts pure fluff, but it did the job."

When Zombanakis established Manufacturers Hanover in London in 1969, the Eurodollar syndicated loan market was just getting off the ground. But so quick was he to latch onto it that he was subsequently seen as its inventor, even though an international syndicated credit had been put together for Austria at least a year earlier.

Zombanakis, however, was certainly the first banker to make full use of syndicated loans. Within a few months he was raising substantial amounts for Iran and Italy, beginning with the ground-breaking $200 million five-year loan to the state-owned financial agency Istituto Mobiliare Italiano (IMI) in 1970, with the interest rate recalculated every six months at 0.75% above the prevailing interbank rate.