Greek Banks Broke Twice Over, As Bad Loans More Than Double Capital Base

Back in January,  we highlighted the main problem plaguing the Greek financial system, and why a bailout (at least third, but likely fourth and fifth, and so on) is inevitable because "the amount of non-performing loans has exploded by a laughable amount, rising some 50% from December 2011, when it was "only" 16% and stood at a gargantuan 24% last month (indicatively, in the US this would mean that some $1.7 trillion in loans was nonperforming). And therein lies the rub, because as Kathimerini prudently notes, the "bad loans come to a considerable 55 billion euros. This means that the sum of NPLs already exceeds the total funds set aside for the recapitalization of the local credit system, which amounts to €50 billion." Yesterday, Kathimerini provided a much needed update on the amount of NPLs in Greece: according to the latest PwC report, NPLs have risen by another €10 billion in under one year, and now amount to €65 billion, which is now larger than the recapitalization funding and amounts to more than double the €30 billion capital base of local banks!

From Kathimerini:

Nonperforming loans (NPLs) have grown this year to more than twice the size of local banks’ capital, as, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), they now amount to 65 billion euros, while the capital base of domestic lenders stands at 30 billion euros.

 

PwC added that the share of bad loans has exceeded 30 percent of all loans issued, up from 25 percent at end-2012 and 18 percent at end-2011.

 

However, Greek banks are very reluctant to sell their bad assets due to the very low prices that investors are offering. Bank officials have told Kathimerini that the offers they have been quoted would make the sale of bad loan portfolios practically pointless.

And since the amount of NPLs is double the equity buffer designed to soak up precisely the kinds of losses that appear once NPLs are priced to reality, it means that nearly 4 years after its first bailout, the Greek banking system is still as broke as ever. In fact, it is now doubly broke and rising at about €15 billion per year.

What this means is simple: just like in Cyprus, the day of inevitable "template" reckoning, in which deposits are "converted" into capital is fast approaching.

Greek depositors: you have been warned. As for the local stock market, well... New Normal and such.