Lender Piraeus gets grip on bad debts
Piraeus Bank, Greece’s largest lender by assets, cut its bad loan provisions during the summer months to improve its net profit by 52 percent over the previous quarter. Piraeus, which is 26.2 percent owned by the country’s bank rescue fund HFSF after its recapitalization late last year, said yesterday net profit was 31 million euros for July to September, up from 20 million euros. Piraeus, with a current market value of 1.25 billion euros, said loan-loss provisions fell 9.0 percent to 242 million euros in the third quarter, from 265 million in the second. “Active management of nonperforming loans continues to yield significant positive re- sults,” CEO George Poulopoulos said in a statement. “On an annual basis, loans in arrears have declined by 2.2 billion euros or 8 percent.” Piraeus said nonperforming loans dropped to 38.8 percent of its loan book at the end of September, from 39.2 percent in the second quarter. A wider measure, nonperforming exposures (NPEs), which include NPLs and restructured loans likely to turn bad, were reduced by 200 million euros quarteron-quarter and 1.1 billion euros year-onyear.
Technical difficulties. The decisions of the new deputy finance minister, Katerina Papanatsiou, on the road tax and the heating oil subsidy will be announced by next Monday, although it appears technical difficulties will prevent the implementation of the changes on both fronts in time for this winter.