Finance Minister: We Are Ready to Go to War against Banks

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Finance Minister Boris Lalovac warns the banks.

In an interview with RTL, finance minister Boris Lalovac said that Croatia has been held hostage by banks for the last 25 years. He pointed out that banks would be penalized if they were to resist the proposed changes in the provisions on loans in Swiss francs. The government has sent to parliament the amendments which should enable the conversion of loans from the franc into the euro, with the return of overpaid interest. The law is scheduled to take effect on 30 September, reports on September 11, 2015.

“We are confident that we will be able to enforce this law because the law is very clear. The banks know the consequences if they do not respect its provisions. The government has already published the text of the law, they know all the deadlines and my suggestion is that they should already be preparing for 30 September. There will be very severe penalties if they do not comply with the law. We will have no mercy. And, if they try to go to court, the government will know how to answer”, said Lalovac.

“There are very detailed penalties listed in the Consumer Credit Act, in case they do not inform the clients, if they do not provide them with specific offers, if they do not make calculations… There are 55,000 individual loans and the penalty for each item is very expensive. And, if the banks show maximum resistance, the tax on the entire assets of Croatian banks will be introduced, the tax which already exists in Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Austria and other countries. It can happen very quickly, but I hope that this will not happen and that the banks will respect the laws of Croatia”, added Lalovac.

“I wish that today’s opposition parties have already done this in 2011 when they were in government, but they let the citizens enter into debt bondage. They had plenty of opportunity to solve the problem, but didn’t. Now, we can see that they have no strategy to manage and communicate with the banks. Croatia has been a hostage of the banks for the last 25 years. We just want to save the Croatian citizens. I have been trying to explain that the interest rates on comparable loans in Europe are 1 to 2 percent, while in Croatia they are 6 to 7 percent. As long as I am the finance minister I will not allow it. No threats or ultimatums of banks to the Croatian government will change that. We will get even tougher. Croatia has a powerful arsenal, but I would prefer if we could lower the tensions and just start applying the laws”, concluded the finance minister.


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