As bad debts pile up, Greece to change loan rules in new austerity bill

Lawmakers in Greece are set to sanction the right to sell bad business loans from local banks to overseas funds as part of a new austerity bill demanded by bailout lenders from the rest of the eurozone.

Parliament was due to vote on the bill, introduced as emergency legislation, later Tuesday. The changes will only affect larger businesses and follow months of pressure from lenders as the number of non-performing loans in the Greek market rose above 40 percent.

The legislation was set as a condition for the release of the next loan installment of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Other provisions in the bill include a new pay scale for civil servants, while plans to partially privatize the national power grid operator, ADMIE, were delayed until next year.