There are currently close to 170,000 pending cases of debt in Greece that are caught up in the country’s courts waiting to be dealt with. But the nation’s domestic banks have stepped up to the challenge and agreed to join forces to help settle them.

It is the first time the lenders have made such a decision, given that the cases deal with loans from multiple institutions, and if all goes to plan it is likely the matters will be settled outside of the courts.

The majority of cases that do not reach the courts in the context of the protection law are those concerning mortgage or consumer loans from more than one bank, and will be dealt with using judicial decisions already issued under the law.

The approach is aimed at not only accelerating the cases, but also tackling nonperforming loans and more importantly identifying strategic defaulters.

“Those who genuinely want to have their debt settled have no reason to reject the common proposal that banks will extend to them,” a bank official told Kathimerini.

“By contrast, those who don’t respond to the compromise offer[ed] by the banks will obviously have different motives.”