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