The total value of bounced checks in the first 11 months of the year rose to 2.8 billion euros, some 190 million euros higher than at the end of October, as liquidity conditions in the market continued to be tight. Data from Tiresias, a nonprofit agency jointly owned by Greek banks that provides credit profiles and other payment information, showed that 286,586 checks were not honored between January and November. Small and medium-sized businesses have recently been resorting more to checks as a means of finance, as banks keep a tight grip on credit fearing customers may be unable to repay loans due to the global downturn. Annual credit expansion to the private sector continued to slow in October, dropping to 4.4 percent year-on-year from 5.4 percent in September, according to recent data compiled by the Bank of Greece. Loan growth in the country stood at an annual pace of 15.9 percent last December.