As the Distressed-debt investors tend to buy loans in bulk, and hence prefer loans with easily recoverable, tangible collateral. The NPLs of stricken British, Irish and Spanish banks in recent years were largely mortgages: being backed by property, they could be valued from current real-estate prices. British and Irish courts are also pretty efficient at dealing with claims on collateral. Many Italian NPLs, by contrast, are uncollateralised loans to small businesses or consumers. Even when collateral has been pledged, Italian courts are much slower than those elsewhere to recover it.