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MORTGAGE RELIEF PROMISED IN GREECE

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greece’s government says mortgage holders could be allowed to pay discounted rates for up to 15 years, as part of a major effort to reduce the number of non-performing loans in the bailed-out country.

Development Minister Nikos Dendias said Monday that the government hopes to finalize plans next month granting loan holders the right to effectively freeze payments on 30 percent of the money borrowed to buy their home. The hope is that the property market recovers from the steep drop in prices seen during the six-year recession.

Dendias, who said the government was in talks with banks on the scheme, made the announcement after submitting legislation to parliament to provide debt relief for small businesses, which have been hard hit by austerity measures demanded by international rescue lenders.

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