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Borrowers call for foreclosures bill to pass

By George Psyllides

Political expediencies were behind party opposition to the foreclosures bill, the head of the association for the protection of borrowers said on Tuesday, as he appealed to MPs to approve the legislation.

“We say the foreclosures bill must be approved,” Costas Melas said after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades. “The consequences from its implementation and how they can be tackled is another matter.”

Melas said the bill included safeguards for borrowers while the insolvency framework provided a safety network for borrowers to protect themselves against the banks.

“We do not believe there will be mass foreclosures … exploitation of the matter to score political points must stop. It is unacceptable,” Melas said.

He called on politicians to get serious, identify the problem, and solve it.

“The means exist to resolve it and I am appealing to the parties to approve it (the bill) because borrowers do not have a problem if it is voted as is,” Melas said. “Borrowers are protected and no one can take it away.”

In any case, Melas said, parliament could intervene if it sees that something is not working.

“I don’t see a reason for all the fuss which only damages our credibility as a country and paralyses the market,” Melas said, reiterating that the whole discussion only aimed at scoring political points.

Stavros Papadouris, the chairman of the association for the protection of primary residence said the parties should find common ground that would allow the state to modernise and protect proper borrowers and home owners.

“Let us not forget there are bad borrowers and they must understand that they must pay,” Papadouris said.

The association proposed to Anastasiades to put borrowers into categories, separating those who were truly unable to service their loans from bad borrowers who just simply stopped servicing them.

Papadouris said the Central Bank had the data that showed the progression of non performing loans.

There are currently €2.0 billion in non performing loans that concern primary residences, Papadouris said.

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