ECB president calls for ‘full geographical coverage’ of foreclosures


European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Wednesday said that while Greek authorities have made “welcome” progress in recent weeks to speed up foreclosures and help banks reduce their huge pile of nonperforming loans, more needs to be done “to ensure full geographical coverage across Greece.”

Draghi’s comments were in a letter addressed to EMP Nikos Hountis from the Popular Unity party in response to an earlier missive from the Greek representative at the European Parliament challenging controversial property auctions.

“Despite the improvements in the Greek banking sector over the past year, Greek banks still have a very high stock of NPEs, which amounts to around 45 percent of their total exposures as of June 2017, one of the highest levels across all countries in the banking union,” Draghi wrote.

“An effective auction system is an important part of the work towards reducing NPEs,” the ECB chief said, adding: “As auctions have been subject to frequent disruptions and cancellations in recent years, the Greek authorities have taken steps to establish a new system of electronic auctions and ensure the unhindered conduct of both electronic auctions and traditional auctions in courts. The progress that has been made by the authorities in recent weeks is welcome. Further efforts are nevertheless needed to ensure full geographical coverage across Greece.”

For the full letter, click here.