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Greece’s banks to reduce €50million of bad loans by 2021, says bank CEO

Greece’s four systemic banks plan to reduce the non-performing loans between now and 2021 by 50 billion euros ($ 56 billion), the CEO of Piraeus Bank, told CNBC on Tuesday. In the case of Piraeus, the aim is to reduce the NPLs by 15 billion euros until 2021, CEO Christos Megalou said.

Greek banks have the highest NPL ratio across the euro zone at 44.8 percent, according to the most recent figures from the European Parliament. This is a much higher percentage than Italy’s, which stood at 9.7 percent.

Christos Megalou, the CEO of Piraeus Bank, told CNBC Monday that there has been a “significant improvement” in this area, but he “would like to see even more in reducing the amount of NPLs in the banks’ balance sheets.”

“The four systemic banks have agreed among themselves to reduce the non-performing loans between now and 2021 by 50 billion euros ($56 billion). 50 billion is almost 28 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) of this country. It is a significant percentage vis-a-vis the actual percentage being produced by this country. I would like to see this happening and I would be very happy if we are able to achieve these targets as we have set ourselves out to achieve,” he said in Athens.

In the case of Piraeus, the aim is to reduce NPLs by 15 billion euros before 2021. This after having reduced bad loans by 5 billion euros in 2018, the CEO said.

“The more weapons you have in your arsenal to address the issue, the better,” Megalou said on further initiatives from the Bank of Greece and the finance ministry to help the banks with this task.

The CEO said further that there has been strong interest from international funds in buying Greek NPLs.

“We had situations where funds were competing and in the process of competition they had to pay a significant amount of money in due diligence to be able to bid for these assets. We are very happy as a principal selling those loans of the level of competition and the level of activity we see in the NPL market. I would dare to say that one of the most interesting asset classes in Greece these days is the non-performing loans in this country.” full story CNBC

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