Cyprus Mail

Greece close to deal over NPLs

Alpha Bank, one of the four systemic Greek banks

Greece said on Wednesday it was close to a deal with international lenders on regulating non-performing loans, a thorny issue which has delayed a disbursement of aid under its latest multi-billion euro bailout.

“On Monday all issues will be finalised … and at the Euro Working Group there will be a decision to release the installment and the funds for the banks,” Government Spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili told state broadcaster ERT, referring to deputy finance ministers of the euro zone.

A two billion euro cash disbursement and 10 billion euros to recapitalise four systemic banks was delayed this week amid disagreement over the level of protection homeowners should have from foreclosures for non-payment of debts.

Athens insists resolving the issue should not result in thousands of Greeks at risk of losing their homes.

At present, mortgage holders can apply for foreclosure protection if the value of their home is 300,000 euros; the Greek government is now discussing protection based on a home valuation of between 180,000 and 200,000 euros, buffered by a series of income-based criteria.

Representatives of the country’s lenders, assessing compliance with the terms of the 86 billion euro bailout, were scheduled to discuss the matter with Greek officials later Wednesday, a finance ministry official said.

Meanwhile Greece’s Alpha Bank said on Wednesday that it would seek to raise 1.66 billion euros through an international book building exercise which it expected to be completed by Nov. 16.

Alpha Bank is one of four systemic Greek banks which were recently identified as having a capital shortfall in a health check carried out by the European Central Bank.

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