Lenders ‘less sophisticated’

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) views Greek banks as facing the highest long-term economic risks in western Europe due to their less-developed underwriting and risk management standards. Despite years of rapid expansion, modernized branch networks and investment in technology, «they remain less sophisticated than their western European peers,» said S&P. «We believe that lending risk remains higher in Greece than in most eurozone countries, since the underlying asset quality of a significant portion of the Greek banking system’s lending portfolio has not been tested through a complete economic cycle,» said S&P credit analyst Luigi Motti. The agency considers underwriting and risk management standards to be less developed than western European averages, adding that Greece’s payment culture remains weak.