Credit expansion turned negative in 2010, with the annual growth rate of credit expansion to enterprises and households falling to -0.2 pct last year, from 4.1 pct in 2009, the Bank of Greece announced on Tuesday.

This development mainly reflects lower lending to households. Lending to enterprises recorded a net flow of 488 million euros in December 2010, for an annual growth rate of 1.0 pct, down from 5.1 pct in 2009. The debt of enterprises and self-employed to banks totaled 139 billion euros at the end of 2010, up from 133.7 billion a year earlier. The figures excluded figures for public sector enterprises.

Lending to households was a negative 1.4 pct last year, after an increase of 3.1 pct in 2009, for a total debt of 117.8 billion euros (119.6 billion euros in 2009).

The debt from mortgage loans fell to 80.4 billion euros in 2010, from 80.5 billion in 2009, for an annual growth rate of -0.4 pct. The debt from consumer loans fell to 35 billion euros from 36 billion euros in 2009, for annual growth rate of -4.2 pct.