Separating ‘legacy assets’ from banks’ core business is central to the rehabilitation of Europe’s banking system. How can Europe progress in its ongoing effort to rid the financial system of legacy assets, and equip it with renewed growth?
European banks are struggling with high amounts of non-performing loans. We look at the reasons behind this crisis, and how it affects banks, borrowers and the European economy as a whole. Finally, we explore potential solutions.
How can Italian banks address the issue of non-perfoming loans? What lessons can they learn from Japan?
Earlier this month, the IMF and the European institutions clashed over conditions for sustainability of the Greek debt. One of the main disagreements seems to be the evaluation of the Greek banks’ health. Whose assessment should be trusted and are there reasons to worry?
Bad loans and private sector debt distress are widely acknowledged to hold back investment and growth in Europe. It was good, then, to hear ECB Vice-President Vítor Constâncio call for a comprehensive strategy to address the non-performing loans problem at an event hosted by Bruegel last week.
Keynote speech by Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the ECB, at Bruegel event: "Tackling Europe's non-performing loans crisis: restructuring debt, reviving growth", Brussels, 3 February 2017
How can we connect the different initiatives for NPL resolution and identify an agenda that is shared between EU, national authorities and the private sector.
Insolvency regimes in the euro area are on the whole costly, lengthy, and recover little value. A new directive proposed by the Commission sensibly aims to strengthen preventive restructuring and to give once-failed entrepreneurs a second chance. But to assist banks in their NPL workout judicial capacity will need to be built up, and regimes better tailored to SMEs will be necessary.
Distressed asset investors can relieve banks of their NPL overhang and offer valuable restructuring expertise, although banks will need to realise a further valuation loss. Regulators could do a lot to support the growth of this market.
Growth in Spain again exceeded expectations this year, and bank deleveraging appears to have reached an end. Addressing non-performing loans was a precondition for recovery, and it required comprehensive financial sector reform.
The year 2016 has not been good to Italian banks. While resilient to the first wave of financial crisis in 2008, due to their low exposure to US sub-prime products and to the fact that Italy did not have a pre-crisis housing bubble, they have been suffering much from the euro sovereign crisis and the ensuing deteriorating economic conditions.
An important guiding principle in resolving non-performing loans (NPLs) should be to ensure that viable debt remains serviced, while non-viable debt gets resolved. We present here a framework to approach the issue.