ECONOMY

Bounced checks increased 242 percent in March

The value of checks that bounced in March jumped 242 percent year-on-year, reflecting worsening economic conditions and the tighter lending market. Data from Tiresias, a nonprofit group jointly owned by Greek banks that provides credit profiles and other payment information, showed that bounced checks in March hit the 263-million-euro mark. The checks – which are mostly used among wholesale and retail traders for payment – that were not honored in the first three months of the year numbered 70,505 and were worth 712 million euros. Tighter lending practices by banks have put the squeeze on small and medium-sized businesses that have been left scrambling for finance.