PwC experts see bad loans rising to 40 pct by end-2014

By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

Nonperforming loans (NPLs) in Greece will rise to a staggering 40 percent by the end of 2014, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers experts who used the same parameters that BlackRock Solutions did during local banks’ last stress tests.

Stabilizing bad loans is the biggest challenge for local lenders in 2014 and a key condition for the cash flow in the Greek economy to return to normal. The latest available data on NPLs released by the Bank of Greece showed that loans unpaid for over three months amounted to 29.3 percent of the total at the end of June.

Bank officials estimate that bad loans were close to 35 percent at end-December, and that they will continue to increase this year too, albeit at a slower pace, before peaking in 2015 and starting to decrease from the year after that. However the slowdown expected in the next 12 to 24 months can only take place if the positive climate is not reversed again due to political turbulence or clashes with the country’s creditors.