Serbians protest against increased cost of servicing loans in Swiss francs

Fri, 30.01.2015 12:44

Kiev/Ukraine in Arabic/ Swiss government move to end capping of franc causes Serbians to protest increased loan costs - has reported Ukraine Today.

Serbians have been protesting outside a Eurobank in Belgrade following a surge in the value of the Swiss franc.

The demonstrators are worried they will not be able to pay back their debts held in francs, after monthly repayment costs jumped when the currency strengthened against the euro.

Norbert Pavlovic, Swiss franc debtor: "One of the ideas could be converting our debt from Swiss francs into euros, and I think that could be a solution which would be acceptable for me and a majority of others. We are aware that we have to repay something, we cannot act like nothing happened, but we need help, because now the situation is serious."

Serbian officials said they hoped for a resolution but urged debtors to keep up payments in the meantime.

Jorgovanka Tabakovic, Serbian National Bank governor: "I would never advise anybody not to pay loan instalments, but, as we have been advising banks earlier [to face the problem], now we are advising clients to respond to the bank invitations as soon as possible and to accept every invitation for solving this joint problem and to take more seriously our recommendations and our earlier appeals for solving this problem."

Around 20,000 mortgages have been taken out in francs in Serbia, according to Reuters. The costs of servicing these debts surged this month after the Swiss government made a surprise move to stop capping the franc's value against the euro.

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