Bad checks continue to mount

The value of checks not being honored in the first nine months of the year rose to 2.4 billion euros, from 815.3 million last year, reflecting tight liquidity conditions in the market. Data from Tiresias, a nonprofit agency jointly owned by Greek banks that provides credit profiles and other payment information, showed that the value of bad checks in September rose 256 million euros from the previous month to 2.4 billion euros. Small and medium-sized businesses have been resorting more to checks as a means of finance recently, as banks keep a tight grip on credit fearing customers may not be able to pay back loans due to the global downturn. A recent survey by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry found that some 250,000 of its members were unable or finding it difficult to meet their cash-flow needs. Credit expansion slowed to 6 percent year-on-year in August, versus 6.6 percent in the previous month, according to Bank of Greece data.