The National Bank of Greece (NBG) plans to sell 295 items of real estate (half-finished, of joint ownership and farm plots) by the end of the year, according to a recent statement. The items for sale have come into NBG’s ownership through confiscation after irrevocable court rulings issued last year and are being sold as part of the bank’s drive to improve the utilization of its assets. The government has asked commercial banks to freeze auctioning off properties confiscated by court orders this year. So far this year, NBG has auctioned about 800 such properties, totaling a value of 14-15 million euros. The first auction in 2004 took place on January 30, when the bank put on the block 486 buildings and farm plots totaling about 5 million euros in value. Another 26 items were auctioned on June 28, bringing 8.5 million euros into the bank’s coffers. The auctioning of confiscated property items is not particularly profitable for banks. Procedures are usually time-consuming, regarding those both for properties coming irrevocably into the bank’s possession and those for the bank to proceed with auction. Moreover, the costs involved (notary publics’ and attorneys’ fees and court expenses) further limit the net result for the bank. NBG President and CEO Takis Arapoglou told Kathimerini in a recent interview that one of the bank’s chief concerns is the improvement on its return on capital employed indicator.