Greek PM throws down the gauntlet to bankers

Greek PM throws down the gauntlet to bankers

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday threw down the gauntlet to the country’s bankers, telling them to crack down on big-time debtors and increase funding to young people.

In a meeting with the country’s EET association of banks at his Maximos Mansion office, Tsipras struck a firm tone, telling bank administrators to “chase the big-timers who have managed to bankrupt their businesses while remaining wealthy themselves and taking their money abroad.”

The prime minister urged banks to put a stop to the dissemination of “fake news” regarding foreclosure auctions, stressing that contrary to some media reports, the government has ensured that no primary residences will be put under the hammer.

“The role of the banks is crucial… it is crucial that you rely on the economy’s positive course so that we can overcome the final obstacles together. Liquidity needs to be restored in the economy, in healthy businesses, and households need to be supported. We need a responsible and effective way to deal with the problem of nonperforming loans. An effort needs to be made to inform society on what we are doing exactly and stop the dissemination of fake news,” Tsipras said.

The prime minister added that the country is facing the consequences of banks’ failure to fulfill one of their roles, which is cracking down on large-scale debtors and strategic defaulters. “This, for example, prevents a young couple from envisioning its future, from planning its life,” he said, calling on banks to pay particular attention to this category of citizens.

Tsipras also reportedly called for the creation of an “observatory” between the government and banks, “so that we can have a clear picture of what cases need to be prioritized.”

According to EET sources, the banks’ representatives stressed managements’ awareness of their social responsibility and the importance of liquidity for maintaining stability in the economy. They said that foreclosures are a necessary if unpleasant measure that has contributed to bringing forward several strategic defaulters looking to settle their debts.

They added that banks are doing their utmost to design manageable payment plans for customers who are struggling to meet their obligations. 

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