Bank of China Eyes Bigger Presence in Greek Banking Sector

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

ATHENS – As it opened its first branch in Greece's capital, with China's President Xi Jenpeng visiting, Bank of China officials reportedly were interested in whether they could find opportunities in Greek banks selling off bad loans.

Greece's four biggest banks are buried under so-called Non-performing loans with customers crushed by austerity measures for 9 ½ years during an economic crisis unable to pay mortgages, credit cards and loans.

The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, reneging on promises, let banks sell much of their portfolio of bad loans to vulture funds who are hounding people to pay, apart from the ruling New Democracy and the former PASOK Socialists who owe 250 million euros ($275.71 million) and with bank officers who approved the transactions receiving immunity from prosecution.

A working lunch hosted by Deputy Finance Minister George Zavvos for the visiting Bank of China President Liu Liange and General Manager Zhou Lihong came as President Xi was conducting business, along with a large delegation of Chinese officials, corporate executives and journalists.

Bank of China executives questioned their Greek counterparts about their plan to shed the bad loans, said that the business newspaper Naftemporiki, although it wasn't said if that included trying to acquire any.