ECONOMY

Banks sell off 2,634 properties

Greek banks auctioned off last year 2,634 real estate properties belonging to customers who defaulted on loan payments, the Hellenic Bank Association said yesterday, denying press reports that the figure was close to 100,000. «This number obviously has nothing to do with the figures that had been published by irresponsible sources, which claim that in 2007 there were forced sales by credit institutions that reached 100,000,» the bank association said. «It is obvious that such claims are aimed at harming the banking system, despite the fact it is perhaps the country’s most competitive sector.» Years of low interest rates have resulted in a growing number of Greeks snapping up loans to acquire their own home. Financial press reports have repeatedly given figures that indicate tens of thousands of bank customers have lost their homes after defaulting on their payments due to rising interest rates.