Credit payments in Greece rise as banks offer loans to more viable businesses


Credit card payments in Greece rose 32.1% to €14.7 billion or A$20 billion in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, with growth in electronic payments outpacing overall consumption growth.

Part of the increase, Kathimerini reported, was due to the massive growth of tourism in Greece with A$3.7 billion in payments made by credit cards issued by foreign banks, a growth of 134%.

At the same time, the newspaper reported, credit card payments made by Greeks traveling abroad had increased by more than 60% to almost 1.15 billion euros, 1.7 billion dollars Australians, largely thanks to the lifting of travel restrictions.

The newspaper added that actual earnings in credit card transactions were much higher as the figures did not reflect credit cards issued by Euronet Merchant Services, which spun off from Piraeus Bank.

At the same time, up to 50,000 local businesses are considered creditworthy by Greek credit institutions and they are the target of local banks trying to increase their financing.

The Greek national daily also reported that around 80% of Greek businesses were operating without bank credit during a period when a record number of new loans worth 4.2 billion euros were granted in the first half of the year. of the year. This has not been accompanied by an increase in the number of sound and solvent companies.

The majority of businesses, estimated at 80% or 200,000 of the total that operated without bank credit and just 50,000, were deemed strong enough to qualify for loans.

A bank executive said: “Competition between banks for a place in healthy entrepreneurship over the past half year has gotten out of hand and has become relentless.”

Despite rising interest rates slowing the number of new loans from Greek banks, there was competition among them to lend to the best companies with sound fundamentals and realistic business plans that could be realized.

Speaking last week during a presentation on the Hellenic Development Bank of the new financial tools it plans to implement, Greek Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Tsakiris said banks were the only channel lending and that with the introduction of fintech, banks would find it difficult to find new customers.

The Deputy Minister said that state intervention through the introduction of new financial tools would work where the banking sector could not achieve the main objective which was “to increase the scope of solvent companies by 40- 50,000 today to 80-100,000”.

“If we are successful, we will have taken an important step in our efforts to boost entrepreneurship,” Mr. Tsakiris said. He added that the problem lay in the fragmented nature of Greek business enterprises into very small companies.

The Bank of Greece has estimated that Greek loan portfolios would need to reach the €160-180 billion mark from the current €112 billion if the bank is to fulfill its role in Greece’s economic growth.

Finally, foreign investors are interested in a portfolio of defaulting Greek hotel loans offered for sale by the collection company Intrum.

Bain Capital and US fund Apollo were among those interested in acquiring the portfolio of 75 Greek hotels that had defaulted on their loans and were valued at 290 million euros or 426 million Australian dollars.

Experts said the wallet would likely be sold at 20-30% of face value.

The biggest debtors in the portfolio included five-star hotels on the islands of Crete and Kos and in Alexandroupoli in Thrace. The portfolio also included four-star hotels on the Halkidiki peninsula and in Skiathos.

About half of the hotels in the portfolio are located on the islands of the Dodecanese and the Cyclades, as well as in Crete and Corfu.

A five-star hotel in Volos and a four-star hotel in Hania may have to liquidate their assets, the newspaper said.

The total portfolio capacity was over 4,000 rooms.


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