Opposition calls for aid to franc-debtors, gov’t and RPP advise keeping ‘cool head’

Mariusz Błaszczak
Image : KPRM
Mariusz Błaszczak Image : KPRM

Poalnd’s opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) have submitted a proposal to aid Poles who have mortgage loans denominated in the Swiss franc. They want the debtors to pay their loans back at the exchange rate from before the recent surge caused by SNB’s declaration that it would no longer strive to maintain the franc’s rate against the euro at a level of 1.20.

“Through its inaction, the [ruling] coalition is bringing tens of thousands of Poles to the verge of bankruptcy,” PiS member Mariusz Błaszczak told TVN24 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Minister of Economy Janusz Piechociński recommended a “wait and see” approach, claiming that the surge in the franc’s exchange rate against all major currencies will soon force the SNB to take action. He added that the monetary policy run by NBP and Monetary Policy Council (RPP) has made the Polish currency foreseeable. “Let’s add that the economy’s foundations are strong, as evidenced by the three growth engines of the economy: consumption, export and investment,” he told PAP. “We shouldn’t spoil that by political or social uncertainty.”

RPP member Jerzy Hausner told TVN24 BiŚ that the Council “should wait at least a few days to see how markets respond to floating the Swiss franc.” He advised keeping a “cool head and restraint.”

Leszek Balcerowicz, one of Poland’s most prominent economist and the mastermind of Poland’s transformation into a market economy in early 1990s told Polish Radio that the exchange rate of the złoty against the franc will decrease.

The former NBP head said that aiding Poles with franc-denominated mortgages is “immoral” and unfair against those who decided not to take the risk and borrowed money in the złoty instead. “When we risk and win, it’s OK but when we risk and lose, others have to pay for us,” he explained.

According to various sources, between 500,000 and 700,000 Poles have mortgage loans denominated in the Swiss franc.

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