The European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission are preparing a plan to address the intractable problem of non-performing loans (NPLs).

The plan is to be discussed at the 4 December meeting of the Ecofin, the council of finance ministers.

The plan will feature additional provisions for NPLs without the need for a new recapitalisation, if the sales are of a “systemic nature”.

Today, banks must calculate expected losses related to the credit danger of the loans. The new regime will facilitate the sale of NPLs if they are systemic, which is to say that they exceed a certain substantial level and “clean up” the balance sheets.

Greece, as Italy, has been struggling to find a way to resolve the banks’ NPL scourge.  Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras tabled a plan very recently.

According to Bloomberg, Brussels is preparing a legal framework that will make it easier for banks to clean up their balance sheets by removing problematical assets, without further burdening their capital adequacy or their ability to borrow.

Bloomberg cites a document that presents a proposed compromise regarding the legal framework for banks.

That framework is currently being threshed out by the European Parliament and the Austrian government, which has assumed a leading role in handling the problem, on behalf of all 28 EU member-states.