Senior representatives at Greek banking institutions Alpha Bank and Agricultural Bank of Greece gave positive signs they plan to begin disposing of their non-performing loan portfolios at the Distressed Investment Forum event in London last week.
Qualco was the main sponsor of the event, which brought together global hedge funds and investors to discover investment opportunities across Europe, along with potential pitfalls and future challenges in a highly fragmented transaction landscape.
Specifically focusing on the Greek market, Minos Moissis, Advisor for Qualco GR, chaired a candid session involving two of the country’s leading banks. The new government charged with taking Greece out of its worst crisis in modern times coupled with new legislation updates and the disparity of the typical NPL ratio – reputed to be around 50% – were the key reasons cited by the panel for the inactivity of portfolio sales in the country.
Speakers on the panel included Frixos Ioannidis, Head of Retail & SME’s / COO at Agricultural Bank of Greece, Dimitrios Starogiannis, Wholesale NPL Manager at Alpha Bank, Jorgen Olsson, Chief Executive Officer at Hoist Finance in Sweden and Antonios Achielleoudis, Group Managing Director of Axia Ventures Group.
The consensus of the incisively curated discussion was that Greek banking institutions are now looking positively towards NPL disposal as early as 2017 and that during the last 12 months their focus has been on increasing the value of their portfolios and reducing the bid ask gap. During this time the industry has sought expert advice from European third party service providers in order to prepare for the debt sale market to open up.
Agricultural Bank of Greece, itself in liquidation, reported that it has engaged Qualco to create a unified data warehouse. In doing so Qualco has enabled meaningful decision making analytics resulting in better insight into its portfolio, what strategies to take with each of its customers and thereby enhancing its value for a future sale.
Christian Jacob, Managing Director for Qualco UK, commented, “Attending the Distressed Investment Forum was an excellent opportunity to meet with likeminded businesses in the secured and unsecured space. As a group, Qualco is now employed by 80% of banking institutions in Greece so it was pertinent for us to lead the discussion on this market. As Qualco expands we look forward to engaging with businesses in Europe, especially Southern and Central and Eastern Europe, bringing our scaleable network to new countries and jurisdictions.”