The recent debate on the Greek issue has highlighted the role played by creditors, although the media have totally overlooked it.
I applied to three intelligent persons (who do not know anything about the NPLs …) and asked their opinion on the message conveyed by the media: they unanimously answered that “the creditor” mostly corresponds to Angela Merkel (and/or to Germany ) and is described as an evil wolf ready to bite Little Red Riding Hood.
In a broader sense, this message can be easily misunderstood:
creditors = those who take advantage of the weak.
If we consider how many Italians fall within the “debtors” category, then we realise that the risk is great.
Then light must be shed on this issue.
As for Greece, at least two myths should be dispelled:
– For years Greece has lived far above its means, with special reference to the pension scheme, even exceeding the members of our Parliament;
– Germany is not an evil wolf, or at least it is not the only one; it is just a creditor particularly involved at government level. When it comes to Germany or France, for example, we should distinguish between government and national banks. The first aid for Greece established in 2010 were exclusively and directly destined for the repayment of debts towards the major foreign banks, whose exposure to Athens looks ridiculous today. They will be ready to field as soon as Germany and the other exposed Countries are in trouble, considering that they cannot print money to finance themselves.
Then who is the evil wolf?
In the Greek case, in my opinion, the purpose of the creditors is not only the recovery of their loans; this subtle strategy looks like a power game, therefore it cannot be assimilated to other cases of financial distress, in spite of some similarities.
Returning to the private economy, the creditor/debtor relation will be the subject of many ethical and moral debates in the next years; we live in a largely indebted society, where many debts have been irresponsibly granted and accepted.
To avoid any speculation, this relation should be regulated upon the granting of the loan and awareness should be raised on the responsibility for the debt; thus the loan enhancement activity can be developed in the mutual interest.