Greek banks form the only group that shows growth at 12.25%, recording a further expansion from last year’s growth rate of 3.7%, continuing the upward trend recorded continuously since 2017, while international banks without a Greek presence show a reduction of 9.59%.

This is in accordance with a study by Petrofin Research led-by head of the research Ted Petropoulos which is monitoring the international shipping industry for over 20 years, and presents for the 23rd year running, an overview and an in-depth analysis of the bank loan portfolios to Greek shipping, as of 31st December 2023.

International banks, as noted in the study, with Greek presence reversed their growth of 2022 and have dropped by 2.23%, marking the largest fall among the three bank groups.

Furthermore, international banks found that the Greek banks’ ability to reduce their loan margins undercut their competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the number of banks involved in Greek ship finance has remained the same. UBS (Credit Suisse) still retains the first position, despite further portfolio reduction of 7.27%.

The takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS has not had any negative major impact on the shipping portfolio of the bank, as the report says.

Eurobank is at the second place surpassing Alpha bank. Piraeus has moved up two places to the third position.

The entry of Pancreta into the financing of Greek shipping was noteworthy, according to Petrofin, with a portfolio of €74m.

The top ten Greek ship financing banks stood at $33.1bn compared to $32.1bn in 2022, $30.45bn in 2021, marking growth of 3.15%.

The steady decrease of European banks’ exposure continues but at a slower pace (0.4% in 2023). Their market share has gone up to 74.02% nearing 2021 levels. Their share in 2022 was 72.89% of market share, 74.33% in 2021, 73.84% in 2020, 75.8% in 2019, 76.9%, in 2018, 78.70% in 2017, 81.04% in 2016.

It is believed that European banks that remain in Greek ship finance are committed towards remaining in this sector.

Meanwhile, bank ship finance for Greek shipping has decreased in 2023 by 2%, and the total Greek loans (both drawn and committed but undrawn) booked both in Greece and worldwide at of the end of the previous year are down to $50,891.42, compared to $51,909.77m in 2022.

Despite robust new loans generation as the year progressed, the high interest rates and loan repayments made it difficult for most banks to achieve portfolio growth in 2023, as reported by Petrofin Research.

Additionally, sale and leaseback finance strongly competed with banks for newbuilding and second-hand financing.