Bob Diamond's attempt to build a Greek digital challenger bank has come to an ignominious end, with the sale of Praxia Bank to payments processor Viva Wallet following an intervention by the country's central bank.
Former Barclays' investment banking head Diamond and fellow Atlas Capital partner David Schamis are the sole shareholders in Praxia Bank, which was formed out of the ashes of Credicom Consumer Finance Bank, a specialist Greek automotive lender, following its acquisition from Credit Agricole in June last year.
With plans to launch a targeted network of retail stores and business hubs, Praxia Bank aimed to grow its SME lending business and offer a suite of digital products and services to consumers, including deposits, auto loans and consumer lending with a view to growing its loan portfolio to EUR4 billion euros by 2022.
Having invested close to EUR100 million in building Praxia, Diamond balked at a December demand from the Bank of Greece to top up the bank's capital reserve by EUR30 million, instead entering talks with interested parties about a potential sale.
Talks with the Pancretan Co-operative Bank failed to find a resolution with Viva Wallet stepping up to express its interrest in Praxia's banking licence.
The deal is subject to approval from the Bank of Greece. Financial terms were not disclosed.