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A Wall St. Firm Advises Greece, With Discretion
The New York Times | March 20, 2012 | 02:02 PM EDT

In unmarked offices here on a dusty block choked with strip clubs and burned-out buildings, several dozen employees of a Wall Street firm spent months poring over bank loan portfolios as Greece struggled with its debt crisis.

They belong to what has become the go-to SWAT team in financial crises. Their employer, BlackRock, may be little known outside financial circles even as it manages a world-leading $3.51 trillion of assets, but the firm is exerting enormous influence as a behind-the-scenes adviser to troubled governments around the globe.

In Greece, BlackRock is helping determine just how much capital the country’s banks will need to raise in the coming months. It is a crucial step as Greece tries to fix its banking industry and its broader economy, but the task is a risky one.

Set the capital levels too low and financial firms may not have an adequate cushion to withstand further losses. Set the bar too high and the banks may struggle to find investors willing to come up with the money. In either situation, the government could be forced to step in with additional money, deepening the country’s woes.

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