September 10, 2019 / 8:31 AM / 5 days ago

Greece's Piraeus Bank to reward home loan borrowers who pay on time

ATHENS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Piraeus Bank will launch a reward programme for borrowers with home loans who service their debt regularly and have no arrears, Greece’s largest lender by assets said on Tuesday.

The move is an attempt to embed a culture of paying on time in a country where many borrowers struggled to service their debts during the country’s economic crisis.

Saddled with 80 billion euros ($88 billion) of non-performing loans, Greek banks have been shedding non-core assets and shrinking branch networks to reduce the pile.

The non-performing loans (NPL) ratio of Greece’s four major banks, including mortgages, remained the highest in the European Union at the end of 2018 - more than 12 times bigger than the EU average of about 3.2%.

Piraeus said it would start returning cash to borrowers, equivalent to a 0.10% reduction of the interest rate on their home loans, in January every year. The benefit will be a lump sum for payments made during the previous year.

Under the programme, Piraeus will also offer home repair loans at preferential low rates of one-month Euribor plus a spread of 1.5%.

The reward programme will apply to borrowers who took out mortgages up to the end of 2014, the bank said.

$1 = 0.9051 euros Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mark Potter

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