Banks propose electronic foreclosures

27 October 2016
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Banks are proposing that foreclosures should be done electronically in a bid to overcome the resistance put up by a growing movement blocking repossessions at courts around the country.

If adopted, the idea would mean that the physical presence of notaries – one of the main targets of protesters – would not be required.
The proposal has been discussed by representatives of banks and Greece’s creditors, who have backed the idea.

The idea comes as the growing animosity, and the decision by the union representing notaries to boycott repossessions, have effectively frozen foreclosures at courts.

The creation of an electronic platform has also been proposed in a report by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) to deal with the issue of nonperforming loans (NPLs) and, at the same time, to secure transparency in foreclosure proceedings.

The growing opposition to foreclosures was evident again on Thursday when some 500 demonstrators barged into an Athens courtroom and accosted three notaries for allegedly defying their union’s call for a boycott of repossessions of first homes at courts.

The union had called for the boycott following vehement protests on October 5, and has repeatedly urged the government to clarify the legal situation regarding repossessions, especially relating to primary residences, “to ensure the legality and smoothness of the proceedings,” as they fear they will be targeted by angry demonstrators.

Although the government has pledged to protect the primary residences of those with NPLs, there have been no clear assurances for those with debts to the state, the union said.

In its announcement, however, the union did allow for its members to participate in proceedings where the repossessions concerned anything but first homes due to debts to the state and NPLs – as was the case in yesterday’s incident which had nothing to do with either.

One of the notaries accosted in court on Thursday told Kathimerini that the repossession proceedings concerned vehicles and bounced checks.
However, the demonstrators – most of whom were drawn from the Popular Unity party, the Sailing for Freedom Party led by former parliamentary speaker Zoe Constantopoulou and the I Won’t Pay movement – appeared unfazed, and interrupted the proceedings anyway, signaling the growing sense of suspicion with regard to any foreclosures.

The boycotts by notaries have created a growing backlog of planned foreclosures to the tune of some 20 a day.

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