Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for even closer cooperation with banks in light of the emerging recovery of the economy at a meeting with the board of the Hellenic Bank Association.
‘’You yourselves will have observed that all the messages are positive, the ten-year bonds broke the barrier of four percent, and that signals a return to pre-crisis conditions. It is time for us all to lend our support, so that this good economic climate can – beyond numbers and statistics – translate into a true sense of recovery in society, and especially among the weaker and most vulnerable segments,’’ the PM said.
‘’The role of banks is crucial in that sense, it is crucial for you to rely on the positive direction of the economy so that we can all together transcends the last obstacles. We must restore liquidity as soon as possible, to the economy, to healthy businesses, so that households can be helped. It is necessary in a responsible and effective way to address the problem of non-performing loans. There must be an effort to inform society about exactly what we are doing so as to stem the flow of disinformation. At the moment, we are experiencing this inability of banks to fulfill a role that is crucial for the economy, due to the fact that big debtors and big tax evaders have managed to bankrupt their businesses, while they are rich and have wired their money abroad, without paying their debts to banks. That impedes couples from having a vision for the future and organizing their lives, because banks are not fulfilling this role, and this must stop,’’ Tsipras said.
‘’I want to ask you to give priority to such cases, to remove big debtors with bad loans from your books, as they provoke society’s sense of justice, and to stem the wave of fake news saying that debtors’ primary residences are in danger. The primary residence is protected and all that has been agreed and you have decided create a net that averts instability and unrest. There must be hope that the last impediment will be eliminated for us to exit the crisis and restore the role of banks on terms that are just, responsible, and effective,’’ the PM said.
Tsipras called for the creation of an observatory to determine which cases have priority, and said there must be an understanding with the government that will not permit foreclosures on primary residences.
On 1 January a law drafted by former minister Louka Katseli that protects debtors’ primary residence expires, and the government is seeking a gentlemen’s agreement not to foreclose on primary residences.
Nikos Karamouzis, the president of the Hellenic Bank Association made clear that banks recognise no such ‘’gentlemen’s agreement’’.