Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, hours after a closely watched meeting with representatives of systemic banks in the country, reiterated that lenders should offer relief to borrowers, in the wake of a spike in interest rates – fueled by the ECB’s rate hikes – and rising inflation.

According to a finance ministry press release after the meeting in Athens, the government is pressing banks to support vulnerable borrowers who are servicing their loan obligations, taking into account European supervisory rules and without any extra fiscal cost.

The government wants a proposal by banks on this issue within the next two weeks.

Staikouras and ministry officials also called on the four systemic banks to present proposals that will boost the approval rate for extra-judicial debt settlement applications submitted by borrowers with a good credit record. The government wants a proposal by the end of the year.

The conservative government is also pressing for higher interest rates on deposits, which have essentially remained frozen, while insisting that interest rates on loans be rationalized, given the major gap between the two at present.

Additionally, the Greek government called for a re-assessment of now ubiquitous fees charged by banks in the country, even for the simplest transactions.

A new meeting is scheduled in roughly two weeks, the ministry statement stated.

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