Govt and Banks agree to help prevent people lose their house due to bad debts


Following his meeting on Friday with Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) Chairman Nikos Karamouzis and Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, issued a statement affirming that both his government and the banks are 'committed to working together more intensely to reduce banks' exposure to non-performing loans (NPLs) while protecting taxpayers' main residences'.

"Both sides confirmed their commitment to intensify their collaboration in order to accelerate the reduction of NPLs, fund the economy and protect main residences" from foreclosure due to outstanding debts said the PM's statement.

Alexis Tsipras said his government's plans include the setup of a joint work group to update bankruptcy laws and to create a new framework for main residence protection. This will take into account the government's earlier decision to subsidise selected borrowers, as well as issues related to bank capital and other supervisory questions, the statement noted.

In addition, the current law protecting main residences will be extended to the end of February, Tsipras said, in order to allow time for the above framework to be set up.

Sources said the Prime Minister's plan is for the government to subsidise the repayment installments of select home owners and for banks to offer improved terms of loan repayments, such as extensions and debt relief.

Following the meeting at Maximos Mansion, HBA's Karamouzis said the two discussed all Greek banking issues, focusing on issues related to taxpayers' main residence and its protection from foreclosures. "We had a positive approach," he said. Both the government and banks "want to find solutions that protect society as a whole and main residences, but that mainly guarantee the robustness and future of the banking system," he noted.

The meeting was also attended by Economy Minister Yiannis Dragasakis, State Minister Alekos Flabouraris and Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Dimitris Liakos.

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