NPL&REO News

Greek banks loans subject to COVID-19 repayment relief hit $37 billion

Greek banks deferred repayments on €30 billion worth of loans last year to help borrowers cope with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the country’s banking association, lenders granted payment deferrals to about 400,000 individuals and businesses between January and November.

The amount of loans under payment deferrals raises concerns that a chunk may become impaired when the period of grace ends, inflating the load of bad debt on banks’ balance sheets.

The European Banking Authority said in December that a deferral period cannot exceed nine months, from the time a loan is placed under deferral status.

In December, Greek’s central bank governor projected that banks were likely to be burdened by €8-10 billion of new impaired loans as a result of the pandemic.

Banks had already been working to reduce a mountain of impaired credit, the legacy of a 10-year financial crisis that shrank the country’s economy by a quarter.

Despite the reduction of non-performing loans (NPLs) by about €59 billion from a peak of 106 billion in March 2016, banks’ overall NPL ratio of 36% at the end of September remains far above the euro zone average of 2.9%.

The €30 billio of loans under payment moratoria does not include another 15 billion of mortgages and consumer and business loans already restructured, meaning banks have offered relief for €45 billion of loans in total, their association said.

Original Story: Reuters | George Georgiopoulo 
Photo: Photo by Jonte Remos from FreeImages
Edition: Prime Yield

BBVA sells a €700 million real estate loans and asset portfolio to KKR

BBVA announced the close of an agreement with global investment fund company KKR – primarily through its KKR Private Credit Opportunities Partners III fund – to transfer the ownership of a real estate loan and asset portfolio from Unnim with a gross value of approximately €700 million.

Dubbed “Dakar”, the portfolio consists of two types of real estate loans (with and without mortgage guarantees) and REOs (Real Estate Owned) assets.

Over the past three years, BBVA has completed several loan portfolio sale transactions, mostly real estate and mortgage loans. In December 2019, the Spanish bank completed its two largest sales of written-off loan portfolios: Project “Juno”, a portfolio with a gross value of approximately €2.5 billion, and the “Hera” portfolio, comprised of loans to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with an approximate gross value of €2.1 billion.

Before, in December 2018 the bank completed the sale of  the €1.2 billion portfolio “agora” primarly consisting of mortgages (both non-performing and in default loans). In June 2018, BBVA sold a property development loan portfolio worth €1 billion called “Sintra” and in July 2017 it sold another portfolio of loans to developers with a gross value of around €600 million, known as Project “Jaipur”.

Furthermore, in October 2018 BBVA completed the transfer of its real estate business in Spain to Cerberus Capital Management. The closing of the transaction resulted in the sale of Cerberus of an 80% stake in Divarian, the company created to transfer the real estate portfolio. BBVA retained the remaining 20% stake.

Original Story: BBVA
Photo: BBVA site
Edition: Prime Yield

Banks under pressure: DBRS leaves a warning to Portugal

The European banking business will continue under strong pressure in 2021. Despite the expected economic recovery, the burden of non-performing loans will weigh heavily on the financial institutions in 2021, according to the Canadian rating agency DBRS, which points especially to countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy.

“The outlook for European banks remains challenging in 2021. We expect the revenue pressure banks faced in 2020 to continue in 2021,” says the DBRS report released this Thursday. “Given the tough revenue environment and low returns, reducing operating costs remain a clear priority, and the pressure to improve returns is likely to lead to further domestic consolidation in some countries.”

The pandemic generated a deep economic crisis, which has not yet materialised in a worsening of non-performing loans (NPLs) due to government support measures such as moratoria and credit lines with state guarantees. “Nonetheless, it is clear that loan losses will increase when government support ends. The trajectory of NPLs will remain a function of the length of economic restrictions, overall economic impact, as well as any additional support measures,” the agency warns.

The latest available data refers to the first nine months of 2020, and the DBRS analysis (which included 40 European banks, namely two Portuguese banks: Caixa Geral de Depósitos and BCP) indicates that there has already been an increase in NPL levels in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands mainly due to very low bases.

However, these are not the countries most at risk. “Banks in Portugal, Italy and Spain continued to reduce NPLs in 9M 2020, however, these countries still hold high levels of NPLs and have high NPL ratios relative to other European banks and above the average of the sample,” the agency notes. “There has been a large proportion of borrowers resuming payments after the end of the moratoria. But the capacity of borrowers to make payments depends on the economic shock experienced in each country.”

The beginning of 2021 arrived with new lockdowns in a number of European countries, including Portugal, so the economic impact of the pandemic is still uncertain. The extent of the restrictions will impact asset quality and the cost of risk in 2021.

“Capital levels remained solid in spite of weaker earnings. However, we expect the deterioration of asset quality in 2021 to trigger an increase in risk-weighted assets. In addition, internal capital generation could reduce given lower earnings and the resumption of dividends payment,” DBRS adds.

Original Story: ECO News
Photo: Photo by Sergey Klimkin in FreeImages.com

CarVal buys a €250 million refinanced mortgage portfolio from Abanca

Abanca, the bank chaired by Juan Carlos Escotet, was the protagonist of the last banking operation in 2020 and the first in 2021. In addition to the first issue of subordinated bonds (AT1) this year, announced last week, an agreement was reached in extremis in 2020: the sale of a portfolio of 250 million in refinanced mortgages to the US fund CarVal Investors, according to financial sources consulted by El Confidencial.

Neither Abanca nor CarVal made any comments. This operation is one of those that were negotiated in the last days of 2020 with the aim of having it count in that year’s accounts, which will be presented in the coming weeks. Abanca put this portfolio up for sale in the middle of last year, in a competitive process known as the Eume Project. The sources consulted point out that there were moments when it seemed that the operation would not be successful, due to all the uncertainties that have existed on the mortgage market during 2020: pandemic, real estate prospects, regulation, court rulings and squatting.

The credits included in the Eume Project are up to date, although with some delays during the last 12 months. This type of refinanced loan is usually included within the ‘Stage 2’ fixed by the European Central Bank (ECB), for normal risk under special surveillance, which requires the institutions to advance losses. This factor, together with the possible deterioration of these mortgages due to the covid-19 crisis, led Abanca to accelerate their sale last year. In June, the Galician entity had real estate loans -with some kind of collateral linked to bricks- for a value of 18,850 million, of which 461 million were under special surveillance and 625 million were in doubt. Abanca’s default rate is 2.6%, one of the lowest in Spain, with higher figures for SMEs and the self-employed (5%) and consumer loans (4%).

Original Story: El Confidencial | Jorge Zuloaga
Photo: ABanca website
Translation/Edition/Summary/Adaptation: Prime Yield

Bank of Greece warns: new NPLs could go up to €10 bn

The burden of new nonperforming loans on Greek banks after the pandemic crisis is expected to come to 8-10 billion euros, relatively greater compared to that faced by other European credit institutions, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said recently.

Addressing the 8th Banking Forum, Stournaras said that Greek banks, already burdened with a high stock of NPLs, will face an even heavier burden in the future since they have exhausted the greater part – if not the entirety of – their capital reserves to deal with them. 

The central banker noted that despite the fact that Greek banks have managed to reduce their NPLs by around €50 billion since their peak in March 2016, they remain at very high levels (35.8% in September 2020), significantly above the EU average.

Stournaras stressed that Greek banks enjoy a satisfactory capital adequacy rate; however, this will be negatively affected by expected developments such as the implementation of IFRS 9 standards, the cost of securitizations of NPLs and the low quality of capital.

For these reasons, Stournaras reiterated the need for the creation of a so-called “bad bank,” to operate in parallel with the Hercules state guarantee scheme. 

His proposal, he said, would deal with the problem of deferred taxation as well and could lead to a further reduction of NPLs by €40 billion.

He asserted that the cost of this bad bank will be covered exclusively by banks.

Original Story: Ekathimerini | Business
Photo: Bank of Greece Site
Edition/Summary/Adaption: Prime Yield

Whitestar closes purchase of a NPL portfolio to BCP

BCP bank has closed the sale of a NPL portfolio, called “Projeto Webb”, to the consortium Group Arrow/Christofferson, Robb & Company (CRC) confirmed Whitestar Asset Solutions, a company of the Arrow Group specialized in the management of credit portfolios (NPL) and real estate.

This is a more granular portfolio whose initial value was 450 million euros, but which has been adjusted to 270 million euros.

With this transaction, in addition to the purchase of the NPL portfolio from the Novo Banco, named “Carter”, announced in December, Whitestar Asset Solutions now manages over 9 billion euros in assets.

Novo Banco sold in December a portfolio of unproductive assets with a gross book value of 79 million euros for about 37 million. This was a portfolio made up of small secured and unsecured loans, i.e. it includes both collateral and non-collateralised loan contracts.

The “Carter” operation, unlike others over the past two years, does not include assets covered by the Contingent Capitalisation Facility under the Resolution Fund.

In all, in 2020 Whitestar won the management of four portfolios of NPLs (bad loans). After winning the management of two portfolios of NPLs sold by Santander (BST52 and 53), Whitestar confirms that in December, in two competitive processes, Arrow Global’s fund (sole shareholder of the company led in Portugal by João Bugalho) won the tender for the purchase of two portfolios of unproductive assets, in consortium with Christofferson, Robb & Company (CRC). The first portfolio, the Webb portfolio, originated by BCP, has a total of 270 million euros in debt, while Carter, originated from Novo Banco, has 92 million euros in debt.

The market for the sale of problem assets remains active. The Novo Banco, for example, is in the process of selling the “Wilkinson Project” portfolio, worth 200 million. Eco reported that Davidson Kempner, Atena Equity Partners (in consortium with Blantyre), and Bank of America Merrill Lynch moved into the second phase. The market expects the financial institution to launch a new portfolio in the market earlier this year.

BCP has yet to close the sale of the “Ellis” portfolio, having been chosen as the buyer, according to Eco, the management company Davidson Kempner. Initially, the “Ellis Project” had a value of 300 million euros, but with the withdrawal of some credits the value of the portfolio was reduced to about 170 million, Eco also advanced.

Original Story: O Jornal Económico | Maria Teixeira Alves
Photo: Millennium bcp website
Edition/Summary: Prime Yield

Banco Sabadell sells a portfolio of distressed assets to KKR for €130 million

Banco Sabadell has sold a portfolio of distressed assets from CAM to the US investment firm KKR for around EUR 130 million.

The sale, which was signed a few days ago, relates to the so-called “Aurora project”, with a book value of approximately EUR 500 million, according to sources close to the transaction, which were advised by Deloitte.

Bain Capital has also participated in the final bid for this portfolio, integrated by the Alicante entity’s toxic assets, which Sabadell assumed in 2011 after a bailout of the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD).

Nine years later, the bank presided over by Josep Oliu has managed to divest itself of the portfolio, thus concluding the Asset Protection Scheme (EPA) which it received in exchange for keeping the fund.

This sale also allows Sabadell to continue cleaning up its balance sheet, now that the merger negotiations with BBVA have failed and the group of Catalan origin wants to continue on its own and with a new management, led by César González-Bueno, who will take over from Jaume Guardiola as chief executive.

This is the second operation of this type closed by Banco Sabadell this year, after it signed the sale of a portfolio of non-performing loans to the management company Tilden Park for some 65 million euros just a few days ago.

Original Story: EFE/Expansión
Photo: Sabadell Bank site
Translation: Prime Yield

Attica Bank announces the securitization of two NPL portfolios

The Greek bank Attica has announced on late december that, following a resolution of the Board of Directors meeting of 30th November 2020, proceeded to the securitization and transfer of two portfolios of non-performing loans, totalling €712 million.

The bank transferred a portfolio of non-performing corporate loans/credits of a total amount of approx. €340.8 million to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the name “Astir NPL Finance 2020-1 Designated Activity Company» based in Ireland. Furthermore, the SPV issued and transferred to the Bank a Class A bond of nominal value of €159,000,000 (Senior Note), a Class B bond of nominal value €1,806,000 million (Mezzanine Note) and a Class C bond (Junior Note) of nominal value of €180,000,000. The bonds derive from the securitization of the above loan portfolio.

Attica also transferred a portfolio of non-performing retail loans/credits of a total amount of approx. €371.2 million to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the name “Astir NPL Finance 2020-2 Designated Activity Company» based in Ireland. Furthermore, the SPV issued and transferred to the Bank a Class A bond of nominal value of €190,000,000 (Senior Note), a Class B bond of nominal value €104,921,000 million (Mezzanine Note) and a Class C bond (Junior Note) of nominal value of €76,372,000. The bonds derive from the securitization of the above loan portfolio.

Original Story/source: Aticca Bank
Photo: Attica Bank Linked In
Edition/Summary/Adaptation: Prime Yield

Despite 9-month losses, Novo Banco halved its NPL stock up to September

Portugal’s Novo Banco, which emerged from the ruins of the collapsed Banco Espirito Santo, reported a 49% leap in its net loss for January-September to €853 million following provisions to discontinue its business in Spain.

The bank, 75% owned by Lone Star since October 2017 and 25% by the state-backed Portuguese Resolution Fund, said its results were also hit by provisions for bad loans.

The impairments and provisions for the exit from its retail network in Spain and for higher credit risk totalled around €727 million, the bank said, adding it also took a hit of €187.2 million due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, sources told Reuters that Novo Banco was looking to sell its loss-making retail network in Spain, seeking to bolster its balance sheet and prevent further losses. The provisions reflect expected losses on any deal.

The bank has already sold assets in France, Asia and Cape Verde.

Novo Banco’s recurrent net income fell 30% to €98 million, but the bank said the results showed its “value-creation capacity and sustainable profitability”.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, increased 9.3% to nearly €373 million.

The lender halved its non-performing loans (NPL) to €2.8 billion in September, after it sold problematic asset portfolios, and cut its NPL ratio to 9.7% from 19.9% a year earlier.

Original Story: Reuters |Sérgio Gonçalves 
Photo: Novo Banco website
Edition: Prime Yield

Spain orders banks to extend state-backed loan scheme for another 6 months

Spain ordered banks to comply with a six-month extension of a state-backed loan scheme to June next year, designed to help companies struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economy minister Nadia Calvino told bank clients who have no overdue payments can request these loans. Banks should also provide these loans with longer maturities and grace periods if customers ask for them, the minister said.

“These measures are aimed at addressing potential solvency problems that may start arising and prevent viable companies from shutting down,” Calvino said.

Spain has already provided €108 billion in state-guaranteed loans to its companies, she said.

With nearly 1.5 million cases and 41,253 deaths from COVID-19, and an economy that relies heavily on tourism, Spain has been one of the countries in Europe hardest-hit by the pandemic.

The International Monetary Fund has said Spain is the euro zone country with the highest take-up of guaranteed loans.

At a regular weekly meeting, the cabinet also approved an extension until March of restrictions on forced bankruptcies of companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic to avoid the so-called cliff effect from the withdrawal of some support measures next year.

Guarantees on the state-backed credit lines, designed to help companies amid the pandemic-induced economic crisis, were extended to up to eight years from the originally planned five on most loans.

An extra year was added to the grace periods, which allow borrowers to delay payment without being charged late fees, being found in default or having their loans cancelled.

Companies had been given until December to apply for the state-guaranteed funding scheme of €140 billion. The grace period on a significant volume of loans ends in April, and many small businesses feared they would not have been able to cope with their payments that soon. 

Original Story: Reuters | Belén Carreño 
Photo: Caixa Bank website
Edition:Prime Yield

Alpha Bank receives 2 binding bids for the €10.6 billion “Galaxy” portfolio

Alpha Bank, Greece’s fourth largest lender, said it had received two binding bids for the sale of a bad loan portfolio worth about €10.6 billion. The transaction will involve a securitisation and also the sale of the bank’s loan servicing platform Cepal.

The portfolio, known as Galaxy, consists of retail loans worth €7.6 billion plus loans to medium-sized and large corporate clients worth €3 billion. The bank did not disclose further details.

Greek banks have been struggling to reduce a pile of bad loans worth about €60 billion, the legacy of a decade-long financial crisis that shrank the country’s economy by a quarter.

Alpha Bank, which is 11% owned by Greece’s bank rescue fund HFSF, wants to reduce its bad loan ratio to 13% of its total loan book.

It reported profit of €97.5 million euros in the second quarter of the year while its non-performing loans stood at 30.2%.

Original Story: Reuters | Reuters Staff 
Photo: Alpha Bank website
Edition: Prime Yield

Millennium bcp’s NPE fell by €1 billion from a year ago

Portugal’s largest listed bank Millennium bcp reported a 46% drop in its nine-month net profit to €146.3 million, dragged down by higher provisions and impairments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, its net interest income (NII), a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was little changed at €1.15 billion from a year ago, the bank said in a statement.

On a positive note, its core net income – NII plus net fees minus operating costs – grew 1% to €835.2 million.

But loan provisions increased 25% to €374.2 million in January-September 2020 from a year ago, while other provisions and impairments skyrocketed 126% to €176.4 million, the lender said.

“We have significantly reinforced impairments in the context of the pandemic. (We’re) adapting the business to the crisis. We have moved from a growth mode to a balance sheet protection mode,” Chief Executive Miguel Maya told a news conference.

Portuguese authorities in March said bank customers could suspend loan repayments, in a move aimed at relieving pressure on businesses and individuals during the pandemic. The moratorium has been extended until September 2021.

Millennium bcp said it had already granted more than 100,000 such loan repayment holidays.

The bank said its non-performing exposures fell by €1 billion from a year ago to 3.6 € billion in September after it sold various problematic asset portfolios.

Millennium bcp, whose main shareholder is China’s Fosun group, said its fully implemented Tier 1 common equity (CET1) capital ratio stood at 12.4%, comfortably above the required 8.8%.

Original Story: Reuters |Sérgio Gonçalves 
Photo: Millennium bcp website
Edition:Prime Yield

BBVA and Sabadell in talks to create Spain’s second-biggest lender

BBVA and smaller rival Sabadell announced they are in talks to create Spain’s second-biggest domestic lender by assets, the latest move in the accelerating consolidation of the Spanish banking sector.

BBVA/Sabadell merger would mark a significant step in this process, coming after Caixabank agreed in September to buy Bankia for €4.3 billion.

If a BBVA/Sabadell deal goes ahead, the new bank would have nearly €600 billion in assets in Spain and a combined market value, Reuters calculations using Refinitiv data showed.

Taking into account both banks’ international businesses, but deducting the upcoming sale of BBVA’s U.S. division, a merged group would have around €860 billion in total assets, still below Santander’s €1.5 trillion global balance sheet.

Banks across Europe are struggling to cope with record low interest rates, and the economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is forcing them to focus on further cost cuts, on a standalone basis or through tie-ups.

Both BBVA and Sabadell said the talks were ongoing and said no decision had been made on whether a transaction would go ahead.

“The entities have initiated a reciprocal due diligence review process as is customary in this type of transactions and have appointed external advisers,” BBVA said in a stock exchange filing.

“It is noted that no decision has been made in relation to the potential merger transaction and that there is no certainty as to whether any such decision will be made or, if that is the case, as to the terms and conditions of a potential transaction.”

Sabadell’s own statement confirmed the talks and said it had initiated a due diligence process and designated external advisers.

Original Story: Reuters | Jesus Aguado 
Photo: BBVA website
Edition: Prime Yield

Q1 2021 will be decisive for the rise of a new generation of bad loans

We will do whatever it takes” for loans in moratorium status not to drop into the irrecoverable category, Intrum Hellas chief executive Giorgos Georgakopoulos has told Kathimerini.

The executive board member of one of the biggest bad-loan managers in Europe used the famous phrase of former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to reflect the concern debt management companies are expressing that loans worth €26 billion currently in suspension due to the pandemic do not definitively join the stock of bad loans.

These worries mostly concern the loans that were being properly serviced until April 2020, when the moratorium was put in place. As doValue Chief Executive and President of the Association of Loan and Credit Obligation Management Companies Tasos Panousis says, “the first quarter of 2021 will be a decisive period for the absorption of shocks so that we are not led to a new generation of bad loans.”

Both banks and servicers say they are determined to ease debt repayments for borrowers hurt by the crisis, while after the second lockdown the prospect for fresh moratoriums is on the table of talks with the European regulators.

Original Story: Ekathimerini | Evgenia Tzortzi 
Photo: Photo by Jonte Remos in FreeImages.com
Edition: Prime Yield

Portuguese banks will merge over the next couple of years

According to the CEO of Portuguese State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), Paulo Macedo, Portugal’s banking sector will likely consolidate over the next two years.

That consolidation, which could involve mergers and acquisitions, is likely to be propelled by the financial results of the banks over the coming quarters said Paulo Macedo on a panel ‘What lies in store for the banking sector?’.

“There is a timeline of events. We will have the accounts for 2020, there will be general board meetings in May 2021, and several institutions will have to see what their prospects are in the face of these results and in terms of profitability and own capital,” said the CGD CEO when asked about possible bank mergers.

According to Paulo Macedo, bank consolidation will take place “over the next two years” since “there will be institutions which will have to look at their prospects as a result of their results,” he said without mentioning Banco Montepio which is widely believed to be in a weak position within the sector.

“Caixa, clearly, is not blind to consolidation and it will happen,” said Macedo at the conference ‘The Banking Sector of the Future’ (Banca do Futuro) organised by the newspaper Jornal de Negócios which took place on 27 October with the presence of the CEOs of the main national banks (CGD, BCP, Novo Banco, Santander and BPI).

Despite insisting that there was no acquisition on the horizon for CGD, Paulo Macedo said that CGD was not “in the least indifferent” to an eventual consolidation process.

CGD is currently following a strategic plan agreed with the European Commission which prohibits acquisitions, but that plan ends at the end of the year.

But should there be any mergers and acquisitions, “Caixa is clearly being overtaken by other banks,” he said.

“We’re not hung up on whether we are the first, second or third largest bank (in Portugal) but we do need to have size and scale in order to be a public bank,” he said, meaning that a public bank needed to be big in order to be relevant in the system.

Miguel Maya, CEO of BCP, said that he was “in no doubt” that consolidation would happen, but argued that this would be brought to bear by the influence of European consolidation. The incentives were being created which would lead to “sums of money moving away from Portugal”.

The specific position of Portugal was also favourable for European consolidation said the CEO of Millennium.

“Consolidation is something that will happen, it will be a future trend and the crisis will speed up this consolidation,” he said, giving several examples of situations which had left the Portuguese banking sector at a disadvantage against European competitors, the main one being the banking sector having to capitalise the National Resolution Fund to keep Novo Banco afloat, into which BCP pays €47 million a year.

Original Story: Essential Business | News 
Photo: Photo by Pasqual antonio in FreeImages.com
Edition: Prime Yield

Spanish banks “face asset quality slump” next year

Leading Spanish banks reported a slight recovery in Q3 domestic earnings compared to the Q2 as net fees and interest income rose, boosted by larger loan and fixed income books.

However, new restrictions that have been imposed in Spain to fight the second wave of Covid-19 are likely to increase loan loss provisions in the next few quarters putting pressure on Spanish lenders’ domestic profitability, according to DBRS Morningstar.

DBRS Morningstar posted an earnings commentary on Spain’s seven largest banks – Bankia, Bankinter, BBVA, Caixabank, Liberbank, Sabadell and Santander.

Non-performing loans (NPLs) decreased in four out of the seven banks this year but other indicators point to a “material asset quality deterioration” in the next few quarters, wrote analysts Pablo Manzano and Arnaud Journois.

These indicators include the ECB ́s latest bank lending survey; Spanish Banks have been tightening access to credit during the Q3 and expect to continue doing so for the rest of the year.

The Bank of Spain ́s stress test published on October 29, meanwhile, showed an expected negative impact on capital ratios ranging between 100bps and 200bps for large Spanish banks on its baseline scenario at the end of 2022.

Moreover, statements made by EU officials, including ECB supervisory board chair Andrea Enria suggest that NPLs at European banks could hit higher levels than the last global crisis.

Therefore, the onset of the Covid-19 second wave is likely to cause “significant asset quality deterioration” in Spain’s banking sector in 2021, according to DBRS Morningstar.

Mr Manzano and Mr Journois wrote that the slow pace of credit quality deterioration reported in the banks’ financials this year, despite the huge economic shock of Covid-19, can largely be explained by the extraordinary measures applied by governments and banks to support the economy, including loan moratoria and state guaranteed loans.

In terms of loan moratoria, an average 6.5% of lenders’ total loan books have been subject to some kind of payment holiday, according to DBRS Morningstar.

The use of ‘stage 2’ loans – loans at risk of turning bad – on the moratoria portfolio remains much higher than on the ‘normal’ portfolio, the analysts wrote, indicating that this perimeter of loans has experienced credit quality deterioration at a significantly higher rate than other parts of the loan book.

Moreover, according to Bank of Spain analysis, the moratoria granted in Spain has targeted borrowers which were already the most vulnerable households, even before the Covid-19 crisis.

In addition, Spanish banks have implemented the state guarantee scheme in Spain and in other geographies. As of September 30, banks have granted around €104 billion in lending to SMEs and corporates in Spain linked to the state guarantee scheme. Credit risk has therefore been mitigated significantly by the state guarantees approved by the Spanish government, according to DBRS Morningstar.

This scheme represents around 25% of the sector’s exposure to SMEs and corporates in Spain. In addition, the Spanish government has also approved a new state guarantee loan scheme of up to €40 billion to provide funding sources to new investment projects.

Original Story: The Banker |David Robinson 
Photo: Banco de España website
Edition: Prime Yield

Europe in favor of a band bank

The European Commission is expecting strong pressure on the capital position of Greek banks from the pandemic, leading to further growth in bad loans and the need for additional provisions. In its enhanced surveillance report released on Wednesday, the European Union executive body stressed the need for supplementary systemic solutions that will help to tackle the problem.

The Commission’s remark constitutes an indirect call for a solution such as an asset management company – i.e. a bad bank. The fact that this is coming at a time when the Bank of Greece has formally submitted such a proposal to the government makes it even more significant, as this is the first public statement by the Commission on the matte

The financial impact of the new crisis, Brussels notes, will suppress the already low profits of local lenders, with debt securitizations set to add to that effect even if they contribute to the streamlining of banks’ financial reports: Besides the one-off loss for banks’ capital, they lead to a permanent loss of revenues for banks as those loans leave banks’ assets and stop generating interest.

Original Story: Ekathimerini | Evgenia Tzortzi 
Photo: Photo by Szymon Szymon in FreeImages.com
Edition: Prime Yield

GREECE Greek banks set to suffer when payment holidays end

Greek banks have a large share of their loans subject to payment freezes, leaving them at risk in the future of increased provisioning and a deterioration in profitability, the EU Commission said.

The EU’s eighth surveillance report serves as a basis for the Eurogroup of finance ministers to decide on the release of the next set of policy-contingent debt measures for Greece, worth 767 million euros.

These measures, agreed with the Eurogroup in June 2018, include the transfer to Greece of funds stemming from central banks’ holdings of Greek government bonds under the Securities Markets Programme.

“While accommodative monetary policy conditions have allowed Greek banks to benefit from favourable liquidity conditions, the economic effects of the pandemic are expected to squeeze banks’ already low profitability going forward,” the EU enhanced surveillance report said.

It said the reduction of banks’ non-performing loans (NPLs) continued in the first half of 2020, supported by moratoria on loan repayments which are set to expire at the end of this year.

The ratio of NPLs fell to 36.7% in June but remained the highest in the euro zone.

Loan payment moratoria, coupled with a temporary supervisory flexibility, were instrumental in shielding banks’ balance sheets from the impact of the pandemic on the credit risk of their loan books, the report said.

“Banks have started to adjust their NPL reduction strategies but loan-loss provisions booked so far might only partially capture the eventual effect of the pandemic on asset quality,” the report said, noting that banks’ internal capacity to viably restructure loans “remains a challenge.”

Greek banks’ return on equity remained one of the lowest in the euro zone in the first half of 2020.

Original Story: Zawya by Redefinitv | George Georgiopoulos 
Photo: Bank of Greece (website)
Edition: Prime Yield

€871 billion in loans benefited from COVID-19 relief measures across EU

Bank loans totalling €871 billion euros benefited from COVID-19 relief measures in the European Union, the bloc’s banking watchdog said, in its first assessment of the potential pipeline for problem loans.

Moratoriums or relief measures such as payment holidays and government guarantees were rushed in after economies went into lockdown in March to fight the pandemic.

Around 17% of loans subject to relief measures were classified as ‘Stage 2’ by the end of June, meaning banks are required to start making provisions for potential losses — more than double the share for total loans, the European Banking Authority said.

“Banks should remain vigilant and continuously assess the asset quality of these exposures,” the watchdog added.

Banks in Cyprus, Hungary and Portugal had the highest share of total loans subject to relief measures, with banks in France, Spain and Portugal having the highest volumes.

The €871 billion total represents 6% of banks’ total loans across a sample of 130 lenders, with 16% of loans to small companies granted moratoriums, followed by 12% of commercial real estate loans and 7% of mortgages, the EBA said.

Around half of the loans under moratoriums were due to expire before September, with 85% of the loans due to expire before next month.

A “cliff edge” effect as moratoriums expire, coupled with a prolonged downturn, might lead to a sudden significant increase in the level of non-performing loans, the EBA said.

It noted that the second wave of COVID-19 had already led some countries to extend moratoriums beyond year-end, but warned: “The continuation or persistence of moratoria may also have the side-effect of potential systemic risk for financial stability, as borrowers may develop a ‘non-paying’ culture.”

The EBA will publish the results of its Transparency Exercise to provide detailed bank-by-bank data on loans on Dec. 11.

Original Story: Reuters | Huw Jones 
Photo: Photo by Svilen Milev in FreeImages.com
Edition: Prime Yield

EUROPE Wave of NPL is threat in Europe

Pandemic payment breaks on European loans totalling billions of euros threaten to undermine efforts by the region’s banks to put the coronavirus crisis behind them.

Some of the millions of borrowers who were given repayment holidays by banks and governments across Europe shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic still need relief as a second wave of lockdowns squeezes the economy and puts people out of work.

But the longer their loan repayments are kept on ice, the bigger the potential problem for banks as debts stack up, making them more difficult to tackle.

The European Central Bank’s chief supervisor Andrea Enria has warned of a “huge wave” of unpaid loans that could top €1.4 trillion and has cautioned against postponing writing them off, warning that waiting for loan moratoria to expire could see many borrowers “unravel at once”.

Although the volume of loans on pause fell sharply over the summer, a Reuters survey and analysis of the latest data available shows that loans totalling about €320 billion were still on a payment holiday at 10 of Europe’s biggest banks.

Personal debt in Europe, whether for houses, white goods or cars, is at a record high, European Union data shows. Although some countries cut back in the past decade, consumers in Britain, France and Germany borrowed roughly one fifth more.

So when payment holidays became widespread during the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns in Europe, lenders prepared for losses, with financial results showing that the 10 have set aside some 45 billion euros to cover the cost of unpaid loans.

An analysis of loans still on a payment break at ten of Europe’s largest banks, Santander SAN.MC, HSBC HSBA.L, Barclays BARC.L, Societe Generale SOGN.PA, BNP Paribas BNPP.PA, ING INGA.AS, Intesa ISP.MI, UniCredit CRDI.MI, Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE and Credit Agricole CAGR.PA, show many thousands are still delaying resuming monthly repayments.

For banks looking to avoid a return to the dark days of the debt crisis a decade ago, there is a delicate balancing act between meeting government requests to go easy on borrowers and not putting their loan books in jeopardy.

Calculating default risk is complicated and banks take many factors into consideration such as the type of loan, the circumstances of the borrower and the wider economy.

Spain’s Santander, which has €39 billion of loans on hold, made 9.6 billion euros of provisions for unpaid debt, while Italy’s Intesa, with €48 billion of loans on moratoria, set aside just 2.7 billion euros this year.

A spokesman for Intesa said customers that took payment holidays were resilient and their exposure to tourism, hard hit by the crisis, was low. Santander declined to comment.

Central banks in Germany, which told banks to prepare for the “worst case” and Portugal, which cautioned of the risks of winding down economic support measures, are worried that if personal debt problems spiral it could suck in banks too.

 “Some banks have more than 20 per cent of their loans on payment holiday. When will gravity kick in? At some point, you have to return to normal business,” Jerome Legras of Axiom Alternative Investments said.

In Italy, payment breaks rose to roughly 10 per cent of mortgage loans at the height of the pandemic, while in Britain it reached more than 15 per cent, calculations by the European Datawarehouse, which collects the data for investors, show.

Payment holidays in Portugal reached 12 per cent, it estimated.

Since then, the majority of borrowers have resumed paying.

But problems linger.

“There is a significant amount of distressed debt throughout Europe,” Ed Sibley, Deputy Governor of the Irish Central Bank said. “And that distress will increase because of COVID-19.”

A recent study by Ireland’s central bank found that although the number of payment breaks had fallen by more than a quarter since June, 9 per cent of Irish loans remain on hold.

It found that hotels and restaurants, among the worst hit by the pandemic, were the most likely to still be on a break.

“For now, job protection measures are in place. But this will start coming to an end,” said Ernest Urtasun, a Spanish lawmaker in the European Parliament. “The number of distressed borrowers will explode in the coming months.”

Banks, however, are hopeful government support, which is being extended around Europe, will help.“Withdrawing support to companies and the economy ahead of time is the time bomb,” said Miguel Maya, CEO of Portugal’s Millenium bcp. “We have to give the economy time to breathe.”

Original Story: Cyprus Mail | Reuters News
Photo: Photo by Lotus Head in FreeImages.com
Edition: Prime Yield

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