The “red loans”, those loans whose debtors have stopped paying them off, mainly due to the unprecedented financial crisis in Greece, are now over 40% when the average for most European countries does not rise above 9%. The primary residence has been under protection for the five last years and the banks were not allowed to move for the foreclosure of a debtor's primary house.
The new measures call for much stricter criteria of income as well as value of the property before a debtor can be announced “protected”, in reality protecting the poorest debtors and leaving a big number of middle class homesteads exposed. Given that, traditionally the ownership of a house ranks top on the list of financial goals for the average Greek family, the new measures are expected, if imposed, to radically effect the Greek society and economy.
Sources from the Greek banking sector believe that the banks will be very conservative in using the new legislation as this would not only harm the relationship and trust of the citizens towards the banks, but it could also result in a further downslide of property values, leaving the banks with thousands of unwanted, and heavily undervalued, properties.
The passing of the bill did not leave the Syriza government unscathed; three MPs who belonged to the majority refused to vote for it. Mr.Sakelaridis, one of the most prominent Syriza MPs denied to vote for it and resigned his seat. Mr. Nikolopoulos a member of Anel, the junior coalition member, voted against and will continue being an MP without belonging to any party. The same goes for Mr.Panagoulis, formerly of Syriza, who did not appear at the vote and was thus expelled form his party's ranks.
The government, which enjoyed a majority of 156/300 after the recent elections managed to pass the bill with 153 votes.