BRUSSELS, April 9 (Reuters) – Greece on Friday secured approval from EU competition regulators to extend its “Hercules” bad loan reduction scheme to help banks reduce the mountain of impaired credit burdening their balance sheets.
The scheme was launched in October 2019 to help the country’s banks offload up to 30 billion euros of bad loans by turning bundles of impaired loans into asset-backed securities that can be sold to investors. Athens wants to prolong the scheme to October 2022.
The European Commission said its approval was on the basis that not state aid would be involved.
“I welcome the prolongation of the Hercules scheme, which has already been very successful in providing a market conform solution to remove non-performing loans from the balance sheets of Greek banks, without granting aid or distorting competition,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)