ECONOMY

Growth rate of loans is shrinking

The number of loans issued to households and companies continues to shrink, according to the Bank of Greece. Data presented yesterday showed that total borrowing in July came to 250.47 billion euros, with the credit growth rate reduced to 6.5 percent year-on-year against 7.4 percent in June 2009. At end-December 2008, it had stood at 15.9 percent. The main causes for this are the fear of the crisis, which curbs average consumers’ borrowing initiatives, and the extent to which banks have become more cautious before lending, so as to avoid a further increase in bad loans. Mortgage loans saw their growth rate fall from 6 percent in June to 5.2 percent in July (it had been at 11.5 percent in December), with total balance at 79 billion euros. In consumer credit, the balance reached 36.38 billion euros with the growth rate falling to 5.8 percent from 7.1 percent in June and 16 percent at end-2008. Credit card balances amounted to 9.84 billion euros, up 2.1 percent at end-December 2008. Corporate loans saw their growth rate fall to 7.9 percent from 8.6 percent in June.