Why Italy's banking crisis will shake the eurozone to its core
They call them le sofferenze – the suffering. The imagery is striking, the thousands of sofferenze across Italy, unwanted and ignored, a problem unsolved.
But despite the emotional name, these are not people. They are loans. Bad debts, draining banks of profits and undermining economic growth.
The name is less clinical than the English term “non-performing loans”, a reflection of the Italian authorities’ emotional rather than business-like approach to the problem.
None the less, the loans are indeed causing real suffering. The €360bn (£300bn) of sofferenze from Italian banks show borrowers are weighed down with debts they cannot afford, while the banks are struggling to offer new credit to the households and firms that need them.
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