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German banks lead in foreign loans to Greeks: BIS data

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German banks have the most cross-border lending exposure to borrowers in Greece, followed by US and British lenders, data from the end of last year show.

[ZURICH] German banks have the most cross-border lending exposure to borrowers in Greece, followed by US and British lenders, data from the end of last year show.

Of the nearly US$46.8 billion owed abroad by borrowers in Greece, German banks accounted for US$13.3 billion, US banks US$12.7 billion and British banks US$12.2 billion, data compiled by the Bank for International Settlements showed on Thursday.

Dutch banks had US$1.7 billion, French lenders US$1.6 billion and Italian lenders US$1.4 billion, according to the data, which is compiled from 31 contributing countries and reflects"ultimate risk", that is, net of guarantees and collateral.

Most foreign banks massively cut their exposure to Greece after a restructuring of government debt in 2012, with French and German lenders leading the way.

Athens is running out of cash and is trying to secure more bailout funds from its eurozone partners. If it fails to convince them about its reform plans and the funds do not flow, it might have to impose capital controls and possibly even leave the eurozone.

Foreign banks with Greek loans could lose money in such a scenario.

REUTERS