European banks and finance officials are discussing a proposal to replace existing Greek debt with a different type of bond to get around ratings agencies' reservations about a planned rollover, two senior European banking sources said on Friday.
The proposal foresees a voluntary rollover of debt into securities of a different and not comparable credit composition to avoid agencies moving Greece to default status, the sources told Reuters on Friday.
Only by a completely different composition of the bonds would the rating agencies see the restructuring as voluntary and not declare Greece insolvent, said one senior banker.
Banks, insurers and national finance officials have held meetings this week to seek a solution to Greece's sovereign debt crisis.
A senior German banking source said that banks were still examining a variety of proposals and that they would not agree to commit to any rollover deal without a signal from ratings agencies that there would be no default.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday that French banks and insurance companies were willing to participate in a voluntary rollover of Greek debt.
German private creditors have been asked by the country's finance ministry to submit data on their Greek exposure and their intentions to roll over the debt by early next week, two other sources familiar with the meetings said.
Euro zone governments are discussing a second bailout package for Greece that would run from 2011 to 2014 and could amount to 120 billion euros ($170 billion) , including up to 30 billion euros from the private sector.
Germany and France, along with Greek banks themselves, are the biggest holders of Greek state debt and therefore most exposed to any default.
There has been rising pressure in countries like Germany, Finland and the Netherlands for aggressive steps to force banks to share the burden of a new aid package, after taxpayers coughed up all of the money in the previous round.
(Reporting by Alex Chambers, Jonathan Gould and Philipp Halstrick; editing by Patrick Graham)