NEWS

Struggling with loans and credit card dues

The new poverty is quite apparent in everyday life. The growth of a market for the newly poor (cheap supermarkets and clothes stores), the resurgence of the market in second-hand goods, which had been in a lull for many years, and the growth of small business that specialize in repairs are all evidence of the phenomenon. The most typical example is the new generation of people who live on loans through credit cards, maneuvering their way skillfully through the obstacles and traps of transferring debts from one card to another and one loan to another, until they sink into the morass of debt. In the first quarter of 2007, household debts for housing and consumer loans came to 91.4 billions euros. Of the 2 million households that have taken out loans, 170,000 cannot pay the installments and are in arrears of up to three months with their payments. From May 2006 to May 2007, 4 out of every 10 euros that households borrowed from banks went to service pre-existing loans. The new poverty is being experienced by society as a whole, and not only those who are in the clutches of debt. Sixty percent of Greeks fear they will become poor in the near future because of some chance event, according to an extensive survey conducted recently by Kapa research.