Greece limits foreclosure protection after financial crisis

Lawmakers in Greece have begun debating tougher regulations to deal with household insolvency after the financial crisis left nearly half of mortgages and commercial loans non-performing or in distress.

The debate started Wednesday at a parliamentary committee despite failure by the government so far to finalize an agreement with bailout creditors on details of the new regulations.

Roughly 47 percent of Greek loans had soured by late last year after unemployment and poverty soared during eight years of crisis and international bailouts. Banks have promised to reduce that level to below 20 percent by the end of 2021.

During the crisis, distressed mortgage holders were protected from foreclosure of primary family residences, but the new rules would limit the safeguards to low-income families.