One more banking mediation was conducted for a customer of our law office with the loan management company “Do Value Greece”. The borrower, resident in one of Macedonia’s cities had a loan amounting to 120,000 euro in Eurobank. This borrower has had a particularly successful course as a businessman in his city, whereas he also owns a lot of properties. His business, however, did not go well. Now, his income is decreased and the loan amount which used to be completely affordable to him is now extremely difficult to handle.

The request for banking mediation with the qualified executives of the company was submitted in March 2020. Ultimately, the mediation took place in December 2020. The process was performed on-line. This on-line communication via computers was difficult and tiring. The debtor suggested the lump sum payment of the amount of 60,000 euro so that the loan interests would be written-off. The position of the company’s representatives was immovable. Not a single euro was written-off despite the offer of 60,000 euro. The company’s justification for this position was that the debtor owned of a lot of properties. The negotiation was essentially conducted for a low monthly installment, without interest for some time and with interest later on, while the debtor’s deepest wish was for him to be able to disengage from the loan and not to extend it.

In the end and after nine hours of discussion, the debtor was forced to sign a regulation that was not satisfactory for him under the fear of initiation of proceedings for the enforcement against his immovable property, as the company’s side was intractable to any write-off that the borrower wished. In our communication the borrower confessed to me that he felt disappointed and that, in his own words, the company’s executives are “making fun” of his problem. A shiny smile, excessive politeness, a moderate, non-confrontational attitudewas the communication technique of the company’s representatives. In reality, the man felt as if they were “mocking him with a smile”.

It is easily understood that in a loan negotiation the company’s side is in a position of superiority over the borrower. “Do Value Greece” has been active in Greece since June 2020. From now onwards it is going to manage the loans of Eurobank and from June 2021 it is going to manage a part of the loans of the National Bank of Greece (Ethniki Trapeza). Just to be clear, the loans were legally transferred to third companies. Nonetheless, loans are not only loans, meaning that they are not only numbers, but people as well, and indirectly, human affairs have been transferred to companies abroad, which in their turn assigned the loan management in management companies here, in Greece. This means that the borrowers started from somewhere, their loans “traveled” elsewhere, and now have ended up somewhere else. At first they had someone before them and now they have someone else. Phone calls from executives-employees of the company, ready proposals as the company wishes the quick settlement and immediate money flow in its treasury; each time there are phone calls from different employees (the coordination and organization among the company’s departments is not sufficient) putting pressure for the immediate signing of the proposed regulation, as they themselves are pressured to “reach” their goals.The communication is only made via telephone and most importantly sometimes the regulations are of the “take it or leave it” kind.

It would be beneficial for borrowers to carefully examine the regulation proposal sent by the company, to understand the terms and commitments they undertake, but also to make their counter-proposals trying to achieve a better outcome. It is commonly observed that bank employees encourage borrowers to sign quickly and in any way, without legal guidance explaining to the borrowers the obligations they are going to undertake thinking that a legal counsel is going to “ruin” their work. By observing the inconvenience of borrowers all this year, if I were them, I would make sure, assuming my responsibility, to gain sufficient information of the commitments I am to undertake.

In cases of borrowers without assets, there are proposals of big write-offs. When there are assets, the negotiation is harder if the debtor wishes write-offs. The answer to the question what alternatives there are for the borrower, is that the regulation tool for the definite regulation of debts, established by state is the bankruptcy law (the “bridge-program” is a facility, an installment subsidy for some months and not a definite settlement). The bankruptcy law apart from the legal proceedings also entails the part of the extrajudicial proceedings through a special platform regulating in total the debts of natural and legal persons to banks, tax offices and insurance funds.

In our law office, after examining your case, we offer responsible and honest counseling regarding the options, alternatives and regulation tools you may use, whereas we also present to you the positive and negative aspects of each solution. You can contact us via e-mail or by giving us a call at our office’s numbers.

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