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October 23, 2021

National currency shaken by Swiss Franc, thousands with loans in CHF despair : PM Ponta asks Minister of Finance, Governor to analyse the issue

Powerful convulsions are taking place on the European currency market, following the Switzerland’s National Bank decision on Thursday to eliminate the exchange rate’s lower ceiling of CHF 1.2/EUR. The ceiling was adopted in September 2011 in order to protect the Swiss economy from the Euro Area’s sovereign debt crisis.

The pressure to give up on the currency exchange rate ceiling had risen in recent months, against the backdrop in which speculations about the start of a European Central Bank bonds purchase program had led to the depreciation of the EUR.

In this context, Romania’s national currency depreciated substantially yesterday. The exchange rate announced by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) for the Swiss Franc (CHF) rose on Thursday by 15.7 per cent to RON 4.3287/CHF, a record level. The exchange rate for the EUR surpassed the RON 4.5 threshold, while the exchange rate for USD reached a record level of RON 3.851/USD.

The Swiss Franc’s jump on Thursday with almost 30 per cent on the international markets in report with the euro, after the Swiss National Bank (BNS) abandoned the 1.20 Francs per one euro cap, in force over the past three years, generated a wave of despair  for the 150,000 Romanians who have loans in CHF contracted during the 2006-2008 period of economic boom.

The exchange rate of the national currency, leu,  resulting from the quotations announced on Friday by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) to operate on the currency market is  RON   4.5095 / Eur; RON  3.8863 /USD; RON  4.4228 /CHF.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Friday asked the Minister of Finance Darius Valcov and the central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu to discuss about the Swiss Franc’s massive surge this week.


UDMR’s Attila: Our legislative proposal on mortgage related issues, an emergency


UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania) MP Cseke Attila on Friday claimed that the legislative proposal aimed at solving mortgage related problems belonging to his political party should be adopted by Parliament under an emergency regime.

‘What happened in just one day with the Swiss Franc/leu exchange rate, which soared from 3.74 up to 4.32 lei for one Franc, shows how urgent and needed the adoption of our legislative proposal concerned with the solving of foreign currency borrowing related problems is. The only political party having a draft law prepared to amend the GEO No. 50/2010 and that would offer a significant support to those who encounter difficulties in paying their debts attached to foreign currency loans to the bank is UDMR […] UDMR’s draft regarding the solving of mortgage-related problems became an emergency,’ said Cseke Attila, according to a press release of the UDMR to Agerpres.

Cseke Attila also added that UDMR requests for the possibility be created to convert foreign currency loans into loans in lei, ‘with the applicable exchange rate to be not the one valid in the conversion day, but the one that was valid in the month when the credit was contracted in the first place.’

‘Such a measure would help the consumer to continue to pay his rates to the bank and would also diminish significantly for him the risk of losing the mortgaged property.

The legislative proposal belonging to the UDMR aimed at helping owners of foreign currency loans was made during the 2013 parliamentary session, in November 2013 most precisely, the Senate adopting it in June 2014. The initiative is currently under debate in the Deputies’ Chamber, which is the decision-making forum in this case.


PSD’s Birchall makes a plea to the political class to prove maturity and responsibility


Social Democratic Party (PSD) Deputy Ana Birchall makes a plea to the political class to prove ‘maturity and responsibility’ concerning the non-performing loans, adding that ‘the Romanians’ serious problems, caused by exchange rate fluctuations, mustn’t be used demagogically.’

According to Ana Birchall, the Swiss Franc exchange rate fluctuation determined ‘the doubling or trebling of the monthly payments for Romanians having taken loans in this currency.’

‘I believe we must prove political maturity and responsibility in this matter of non-performing loans and, instead of demagogically speculating the difficult moment that thousands of Romanians are going through, we should sit together at the same table with the representatives of all involved parties, including those with the National Authority for the Consumers’ Protection, and find balanced solutions that can be put into practice and really help those in trouble. No one should live any longer in fear of losing their lifetime savings, of risking ending up homeless exclusively because of the exchange rate fluctuations,’ the PSD Deputy maintains, according to a press release remitted to AGERPRES on Friday.

Ana Birchall brings to mind she initiated a legislative proposal on this topic, adopted by the Senate, which is on the working agenda of the Deputies’ Chamber Budget Committee.

‘There is a draft law in Parliament that belongs to me, voted by the Senate and currently on the working agenda of the Deputies’ Chamber Budget Committee, which comes to the aid of the Romanians chocked by debts and by the overnight increase in the monthly payments exclusively because of the exchange rate fluctuations. (…) I am making an appeal to political responsibility especially to some politicians who, today, in a demagogical manner, are very vocal demanding hearings in Parliament concerning the problems caused by the Swiss Franc fluctuations, bringing them to mind that when I supported my draft law in the hearings of the Budget Committee, they either kept their mouths shut or had a position of unjustified rejection of my arguments for adopting this law,’ the Deputy explains.

Ana Birchall adds that in the discussions carried out within the Budget Committee of the Deputies’ Chamber she drew the attention on the fact that ‘all non-performing loans, mainly those in Swiss Francs, tend to turn into a serious social problem of Romania.’

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