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The Banknote Printing Works of the Bank of Greece (IETA) – The National Mint

History

1. General

The Banknote Printing Works of the Bank of Greece (IETA), based in Holargos (currently part of the Municipality of Halandri, Attica), was set up by a decision of the Bank's General Council dated 7 June 1938 and its original purpose was to print banknotes (paper bills) for the Bank, as well as government securities.

 

The IETA building complex was completed in 1941, and the first printing machinery was bought and installed there that same year.

 

Operations effectively started after the end of World War II, with the production of the 1947 1,000 drachma banknote (Series IV) and of cheques and other securities for the Bank and the Greek government.

 

Since 1971, when the Ministry of Finance entrusted the Bank of Greece with the production of legal tender and commemorative coins, the IETA facilities have also housed the National Mint. The National Mint was organised in line with Western European standards and was equipped with state-of-the-art machinery for the manufacturing of coin dies and the striking of legal tender coins, commemorative and collectors' coins, medals, etc.

 

The production of coins effectively started in 1972.

 

By a decision of the Bank's General Council dated 12 January 1972, the Banknote Printing Works was incorporated as a separate Department (IETA Department) into the organisational structure of the Bank of Greece; this status is maintained to this day.

2. Further reading (in Greek)

  • “Chronicle of the Bank of Greece”, by Ilias Venezis, Athens, 1955, chapter V
  • “The first fifty years of the Bank of Greece” (1928-1978), Bank of Greece, Athens, 1978, pp. 366-368.

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The IETA today

  • is a pioneering printing house, delivering products which, apart from their outstanding aesthetic value, meet high security standards and offer maximum protection against counterfeiting
  • is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, and its production processes are in line with the industry's best practices at the European level
  • is staffed by highly qualified and experienced professionals (engineers, technicians and artists)
  • conducts strict quality controls all along the production chain, from raw materials to packaged products, conforming with relevant international standards.

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Activities

The IETA mainly engages in the following activities:

1. Production of banknotes

The main task within this line of business is the production of euro banknotes issued following approval by the European Central Bank (ECB) and according to the designs, specifications and security features established by the ECB. The quantities and denominations allocated to the Bank of Greece (and to the IETA on its behalf) form part of the total volume of euro banknotes produced annually to cover the needs of the Eurosystem. According to the banknote production framework established by the ECB, each printing works may produce up to three different euro banknote denominations.

2. Production of coins

The main task within this line of business is the production of euro coins according to the specifications and security features established by the ECB. The designs of the common European side of euro coins have been determined by the competent EU institutions (the European Commission and the ECB) and applies to all coins of the same denomination, irrespective of the issuing country. The designs of the national side of Greek euro coins have been selected by the Greek Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the Bank of Greece. The Ministry of Finance is the issuer of coins in our country, as is the case with the respective Ministries in all other euro area countries.

The IETA also produces commemorative coins and medals in the context of the annual numismatic programme of the Greek Ministry of Finance.

3. Printing of Greek government paper and other special security documents, such as certification documents etc. Finally, the IETA prints the official stationery of the Bank of Greece, as well as all the Bank's reports and other publications.

 

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Quality assurance


Aspiring to a dynamic presence in the fields of security printing and minting, the IETA has put a Quality Management System in place and is currently working towards establishing an Environmental Management System and an Occupational Health and Safety Management System. These systems conform with international standards, as well as with the specific requirements set by the Eurosystem.

In greater detail:

1.Product Quality Management System

Given its commitment to delivering products of high and stable quality, the IETA ensures that strict technical standards are applied during every stage of production. To this end, it has developed a Quality Management System complying with the ISO 9001:2000 requirements and certified by the Hellenic Organisation for Standardisation (ELOT). Rigorous application of this system is ensured through frequent internal audits, as well as through regular inspections carried out by the ELOT and the relevant bodies of the Eurosystem.

The main objectives of the Quality Management System include:

  1. constant and effective control of the quality of raw materials and products in every stage of production
  2. satisfying the customer's requirements in terms of delivery times, amounts and quality
  3. compliance with relevant standards and specifications
  4. compliance with legislative and regulatory provisions, etc.

To achieve these objectives, the IETA applies the strict quality standards specified by the ECB for all the printing works and mints involved in projects of the Eurosystem, and ensures availability of all the required resources, i.e.:

  • highly qualified and experienced personnel
  • state of the art equipment
  • materials of top quality and features that guarantee the high quality of final products, or special materials required by contractual arrangements.

2. Environmental Management System

Respect for the environment is for the IETA a chief guiding principle and a crucial aspect of its quality assurance policy. The main objectives of its environmental policy are:

  • excellence in environmental protection
  • prevention of pollution
  • rational use of natural resources
  • minimisation and proper management of waste.

In this context, the IETA:

  • seeks to minimise the environmental impact of its activities by using, to the greatest possible extent, advanced and environment-friendly technologies and materials
  • stays abreast of and implements developments in the relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks
  • actively participates in studies conducted by the Eurosystem and/or relevant national authorities that assess the environmental impact of its products during their complete life cycle
  • encourages reutilisation of materials and recycles a significant part of its waste
  • invests in sophisticated antipollution systems
  • promotes environmental awareness among its staff.

Currently, the IETA is developing an advanced, ISO 14001-compliant Environment Management System, which will soon be implemented with the support of competent bodies of the Eurosystem.

3.Health and Safety at Work

Safeguarding the health and safety of its staff is a key priority of the IETA quality policy. To this end, the IETA continuously monitors and implements developments in the relevant legislation, allocates resources to ensure a healthy and safe workplace and is committed to constant improvement in this field.

 

More specifically, the IETA:

 

  • uses state-of-the-art machinery fitted with all the required safety and warning devices and ensures regular maintenance for safe operation
  • uses advanced fire protection systems
  • ensures the existence and maintenance of the necessary safety signs and signals in its premises
  • seeks to minimise the use of hazardous substances
  • supplies its staff with all the necessary personal safety equipment (masks, special uniforms, goggles, etc.) and provides training in proper use
  • provides staff training in the safe operation of machinery and handling of materials
  • has established cooperation arrangements with an external health and safety service provider, according to the legislation in force, and procedures for addressing any recommendations by the Safety Officer and/or Occupational Physician.

At the same time, preparations are under way in order to obtain ISO 18000 certification for the IETA's Health and Safety Management System.

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Contact information

BANK OF GREECE - BANKNOTE PRINTING WORKS (IETA)
341 Messogeion Ave.
15231 Halandri (Athens)
Tel.: (+30) 210 6170400
Fax: (+30) 210 6725977
E-mail: prinwksdptdirec@bankofgreece.gr