Banks on Wednesday agreed to extend the foreclose freeze for primary properties but stressed it was the last time this would happen, urging government and parliament to find a solution once and for all.
The decision was announced after the banking association met with President Nikos Christodoulides and Finance Minister Makis Keravnos at the presidential palace.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, spokesman for the bank’s association Andreas Kostouris said the foreclosures freeze which had come into effect on July 5, 2023, was being extended until December 31 of this year.
It concerns primary properties valued up to €350,000 and the development comes amid a series of foreclosure freeze extensions which have been ongoing for years.
Kostouris said the decision aims to give the government, parliament, and banks themselves, the necessary time to find a solution once and for all.
“Our social sensitivity is shared with the government, with respect to borrowers which belong to vulnerable groups. At the same time, there is zero tolerance for strategic defaulters. We remain committed to an immediate, substantial and effective implementation of a framework that oversees foreclosures procedures.”
Asked about the risks of the latest foreclosures freeze and whether this would affect the ‘mortgage to rent’ scheme, Kostouris said the association is constantly in talks with the finance ministry so as to implement the scheme in the best possible way.
He stressed the foreclosures freeze always came with a risk and is against the principles of the association. Despite highlighting this for the past four years, parliament continues to freeze foreclosures, Kostouris noted.
“We believe this is a sign of good will from our part so the dialogue over the matter can be completed.”
Kostouris told journalists the mutual goal between banks and the government is to ensure financial stability for economic growth and social welfare.