Economy in Focus #6 - NPLs: A decade-long European headache

In this edition, published September 2023, we take a closer look at the economic phenomenon of NPLs – non performing loans – how they function and what the future development might look like.

In 2015, the NPL stock peaked at nearly EUR 1.2 trillion, corresponding to about 6 percent of the total European loan stock. Today, the total NPL stock in Europe amounts to an estimated EUR 357 billion, corresponding to 1.8 percent of the entire European loan stock.

What does the future hold for NPLs?

Watch the 3 minute video summarising the highlights of the report:

In this issue:

  1. Intracontinental economic differences between the North and South of Europe
  2. Europe’s big economies
  3. A future wave of NPLs?


The European banks find themselves in a stronger position compared to 15-20 years ago. But they are far from being immune to a new wave of potential NPLs. The full effects of the sharp interest rate hikes are yet to unfold.
Anna Zabrodzka-Averianov, Senior Economist at Intrum