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Society

Greek Foreclosures Stepped Up, Going Online Too

November 29, 2017

ATHENS – Greeks who can’t pay mortgages because of crushing austerity measures will start seeing their homes taken electronically as well as through renewed auctions at courthouses that were to begin again on Nov. 29.

That came as notaries said they would return to the sales, setting aside a decision to stop working the rest of this year in protest against sometimes violent interruptions of the foreclosures by groups furious that Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras broke promises to halt the confiscations.

Tsipras, reneging on anti-austerity vows, authorized the seizures as part of his continuing surrender to the country’s international creditors who are putting up a third bailout, this one for 86 billion euros ($102.5 billion) he said he would never seek nor accept but did.

The notaries said their return to work was conditional on getting better security and protection from protesters as the government said the auctions for now were aimed mostly at strategic defaulters who can afford to pay but weren’t.

There was no guarantee, however, that homes of people who can’t afford to pay because of big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings wouldn’t be next to be taken although political parties not paying bad loans aren’t being pursued.

The country’s lenders, the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) want banks to cut down a mountain of bad loans by going after debtors who can’t pay their loans, mortgages or credit cards.

But bad loans of 20 billion euros ($23.73 billion) owned by a number of businesses who weren’t paying were said to be uncollectable and due to be written off as banks were accused of handing out money to political and business favorites who didn’t pay.

Greek banks are holding some 100 billion euros ($118.66 billion) in bad loans, about half the institutions’ worth and the government is also allowing them to be sold off to private collectors, breaking another promise.

The business loans are due to be written off because the companies involved don’t have the assets to pay and their holdings and equipment aren’t worth it either, the newspaper Kathimerini reported.

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