National Bank of Greece’s new program aimed at settling nonperforming housing loans provides for a more aggressive approach to the management of its bad-mortgage portfolio, including debt write-offs.
Bearing the English name “Split & Settle,” the program intends to offer incentives to debtors to pay off part of their dues, and, according to NBG chief executive officer Pavlos Mylonas, is seen leading to 150,000 settlements.
Mylonas explained that the write-offs will not be granted to everyone, and that the selection will be based on the income and property profile of each borrower. They will, however, spearhead the effort to reduce the sum of bad housing loans from 7 billion euros at the end of 2018 to just 1 billion at end-2022.
According to the bank’s management, loan write-offs could be supported by the high level of provisions, which distinguishes National from the competition and allows it to proceed with more aggressive moves on the restructurings front, to the benefit of its clients. Provisions amount to 59 percent of NBG’s entire loans portfolio and 42 percent of the mortgage portfolio, and, as Mylonas said, the bank would prefer a solution through write-offs than via the sale of a portfolio to funds, which would inflict greater losses on the lender.