Hercules gets another 18 months of life


Parliament voted for the 18-month extension of the Hercules program, designed to reduce the stock of nonperforming loans, amid fierce debate at Thursday’s plenary.

The bill also included amendments to the bankruptcy code and passed on the strength of ruling New Democracy votes alone. All opposition parties rejected it, with the exception of support for single articles.

Arguing in support of the controversial bill, Deputy Finance Ministers George Zavvos and Apostolos Vesyropoulos called the bill a result of “the government’s strategic decision to reduce NPLs to single-digit numbers in order to boost the real economy.”

Opposition parties accused the government of boosting the banking system without guaranteeing smaller businesses access to funding, and without protecting vulnerable borrowers from foreclosure auctions.