Bad quality loans in EU halved since 2015, but Greece and Cyprus stockpile still large

The stockpile of bad bank loans in the European Union has halved over the past four years but remains hefty at lenders in Greece and Cyprus, the bloc's banking watchdog said on Friday.

So-called non-performing loans or NPLs, where repayments by small companies and individuals are late or even become unlikely, became a millstone around the necks of many banks after the global financial crisis a decade ago.

NPL stockpiles hit a bank's profitability and lending capacity, the European Banking Authority said in a statement.

The volume of NPLs across EU banks has fallen from 1.15 trillion euros ($1.27 trillion) in June 2015, when they were 6 percent of total loans, to 636 billion euros or 3 percent by June 2019, according to the EBA.
It looked at a sample of 150 EU banks that account for over 80 percent of the sector's total assets.

The overall drop was...

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