Stournaras asks for more work on NPLs

Kathimerini English - - Focus - YIAN­NIS PAPADOYIANNIS

Cen­tral banker Yan­nis Stournaras yes­ter­day called on the man­agers of the coun­try’s com­mer­cial banks to buckle down and speed up pro­ce­dures for tack­ling non­per­form­ing loans.

The in­for­mal meet­ing, held at the Bank of Greece, heard Stournaras ask not only for the NPL-re­duc­tion tar­gets set by the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s Sin­gle Su­per­vi­sory Mech­a­nism (SSM) to be met, but also to be ex­ceeded.

Even if banks do make the am­bi­tious SSM tar­get of bring­ing NPLs down from 75.2 bil­lion eu­ros in March 2017 to 40.2 bil­lion by end-2019, the Greek credit sys­tem will still have the big­gest bad-loan rate in the eu­ro­zone, de­mand­ing an even greater ef­fort.

Mean­while a Mor­gan Stan­ley re­port es­ti­mates that there has been progress on the NPLs front, fol­low­ing meet­ings be­tween its re­searchers and lo­cal bankers and in­sti­tu­tional of­fi­cials in Greece. Its anal­y­sis notes that an as­set qual­ity re­view is not likely for Greek lenders, and that the re­duc­tion of non­per­form­ing ex­po­sures is con­tin­u­ing even though there was lit­tle progress in re­struc­tur­ing cor­po­rate loans in the year to end-June.

Thou­sands of Greeks chose to beat the queues at banks on Mon­day and pay their in­come tax in­stall­ment us­ing credit cards, se­cur­ing them the right to pay their dues in 12 tranches in­stead of the three the state nor­mally al­lows. Around 170 mil­lion eu­ros was paid through cards, up 10 per­cent on a year ear­lier.

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