Stournaras: Public debt, unemployment, big NPL pile weigh on Greece


Greece’s banks have shown progress in tackling a stockpile of non-performing loans, Bank of Greece governor Yiannis Stournaras said on Friday, but said it would remain a key challenge for the country going forward.

Greek banks are saddled with 103 billion euros in bad loans, equal to almost 60 percent of the economy, after years of financial crisis and crippling recession. The European Central Bank wants that reduced by 38 billion euros by the end of 2019.

“Incoming data point to a reduction in NPEs and this is mainly driven by loan write-offs,” Stournaras told a conference in Athens.

“However, banks should utilize all the available toolbox to reduce troubled assets, and in particular speed up the sale of NPLs.”

Stournaras said high public debt and levels of unemployment were also key challenges to the Greek economy. [Reuters]