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Addiko Bank analysing Croatian court ruling on legal nullity of clause on Swiss franc-indexed loans

Author Iskra Pavlova
Addiko Bank analysing Croatian court ruling on legal nullity of clause on Swiss franc-indexed loans Author: Radomir Ralev

ZAGREB (Croatia), September 18 (SeeNews) - Austria's Addiko Bank said it is analysing a ruling of the Croatian supreme court on the legal nullity of a foreign currency exchange clause concerning Swiss franc-indexed loans.

The court has rendered a ruling in collective consumer protection claims against eight commercial banks active in Croatia, including the Zagreb-based unit of Addiko, rejecting their revisions and deciding that the Swiss franc clause used in loan agreements, linking payments in the local kuna currency to the Swiss franc, are null and void, Addiko said in a statement on Tuesday.

"As a consequence of the judgment, consumers who concluded loan agreements with Addiko Bank d.d. (Zagreb) may have a right to claim nullity of the respective Swiss franc clause with individually filed disputes," the statement said.

"Addiko Bank AG is currently analyzing the ruling and is assessing any impact related thereto as well as possible legal remedies," it added.

Apart from Addiko (former Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank), the other seven lenders include Zagrebacka Banka, Privredna Banka, Erste Bank, Raiffesenbank Austria, OTP, Splitska Banka (former Societe General-Splitska Banka), and Sberbank (former Volksbank).

Back in July 2018, Croatia's high commercial court overturned an appeal filed by the eight lenders, and upheld a ruling of Zagreb's commercial court on the legal nullity of the foreign currency exchange clause in CHF-indexed loans, local media reported back then.

The Zagreb commercial court ruling was announced back in 2013 in favour of some 100,000 citizens, represented by the Croatian consumer protection association, which sued the eight banks regarding CHF-indexed loans and their unilateral decision to raise interest rates.

The loans were extended in 2004-2008 with their financing costs jumping following the sharp strengthening of the Swiss currency in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

In addition, the lenders had decided to increase the charged interest rates, resulting in the monthly instalments on these loans rising by an average of 50%.