ZAGREB, September 18, 2019 – Representatives of the Franak association, which brings together holders of loans originally indexed to the Swiss franc, said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court ruling of Tuesday constituted the final victory in their class action against eight banks and that by June 2023 more than 100,000 citizens were expected to sue banks over unfair terms regarding the currency clause in their loan contracts.
Explaining its ruling, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the eight sued banks had breached the collective interests and rights of holders of loans originally pegged to the Swiss franc.
The court reported that it had refused a motion by the banks for a review of the case in which the Croatian Consumer Protection Association sued eight domestic banks to protect their collective interests and rights.
“We have finally proved that we are right. We have won and now 125,000 people can sue banks, 30,000 have already done so, and I expect more than 100,000 lawsuits by June 2023,” SNAGA party member of parliament and Franak association activist Goran Aleksić told a news conference outside the Supreme Court.
Aleksić is confident that anyone who opts to sue the banks will win, noting that the Supreme Court ruling was final and binding on all courts. “I maintain that everyone is certain to get their money back,” he said.
He stressed that in the meantime the Supreme Court would have a few more things to do, primarily to decide whether loan contracts with a clause indexing loans to the Swiss franc were null and void.
Aleksić says that a ruling by the Court of the EU determined that if a currency clause was null and void, so was a contract in its entirety.
He expects that in the next few months the Supreme Court will determine that loan contracts indexing loans to the Swiss franc are null and void, in which case, he says, compensation will be 100% higher than if only interest and the currency are null and void.
He added that the Court of the EU had established beyond doubt that if contractual terms were found to be unfair and therefore null and void, restitution had to be complete.
According to information from the Finance Ministry in mid-2016, over 58,000 debtors had Swiss franc-pegged loans totalling an amount of 20.9 billion kuna. Ninety-four percent of the debtors accepted a conversion scheme and 85% of them converted their loans. The balance of CHF-denominated loans after the conversion in mid-2016 stood at 15.4 billion kuna.
More news about Swiss franc loans can be found in the Business section.