NPLs are a dominant problem for banks in the euro area as in some countries almost one quarter of loans are not serviced. NPLs represent a real challenge for bank profitability and financial stability. In addition, they constrain credit expansion and delay economic recovery.
Despite some recent progress, slow growth and persistent unemployment as well as low investment interest due to asymmetric information and a wide bid-ask price wedge, make extremely difficult the cleaning of banks’ balance sheets.
A series of options have been suggested with a view to improving conditions in the European NPL market and reinforcing investor confidence respecting at the same time state aid rules. Public intervention measures, such as asset management companies and other co-investment strategies are deemed necessary in order to increase market efficiency and create a virtuous circle of reductions in NPLs and increases in investment and growth much needed in the euro area.