Frankowicze – who are they? Frankowicze – you have certainly heard this term in public space more than once. Experts, politicians and ordinary citizens speak about them. It has been a hot topic for many years, regularly appearing in the media, the press, and even during meetings with friends. It arouses great emotions and provokes stormy discussions. So who are these frankers and what made them become them? What is their situation at the moment?
One, two, three, you are a frankowicz! – so how did it happen?
In fact, the term frankowicze is a relatively new concept that appeared in our country only a few, several years ago. Actually, it is a common name for people who took loans in Swiss francs.
Several years ago, the Swiss franc was a record-low currency. This meant that many people who dreamed of a larger loan and could not get it in the Polish currency decided to take loans in a foreign currency, i.e. CHF loans, which were extremely popular at that time. Usually, the situation was such that people with the same creditworthiness could obtain a much larger loan amount in francs than if they applied for it in zlotys. In addition, for many years, Swiss franc loans had much lower interest rates than loans in PLN, and thus were much cheaper and had lower installments, which was also of great importance.
Therefore, several hundred thousand Poles decided to take franc loans at that time. Two types were most common:
- denominated loans – i.e. those in which the loan value in the contract was written in Swiss francs, but the loan itself, converted into PLN, was launched in PLN; persons with this type of loan also repay it in the Polish currency, but after converting the loan installment according to the exchange rate;
- indexed loans – in this case, the loan amount was indicated in PLN in the contract; a loan in Polish currency has also been launched and installments are repaid in the same way, but the amount of the liability itself is closely related to the CHF exchange rate;
Both of these methods of granting loans have in common the fact that they were paid in the Polish currency and in both cases their installments depended on the exchange rate, and their interest rate depends on the foreign currency interest rates.
In fact, few people thought about the risk of taking a loan in a foreign currency. Therefore, when the CHF exchange rate began to increase until the memorable “Black Thursday” in 2015 and its record prices, the situation of many people changed drastically, their loan installments increased by even several hundred zlotys, and despite many years of paying installments their liabilities are still greater than the amounts they received from the banks.
The case is broken – what’s next?
When it turned out that Swiss franc loans are no longer so beneficial, and the liabilities, despite the repayment of installments, are higher and higher, the drama of thousands of people began. People fell into depressions and addictions en masse, and even attempted suicide. In the face of the fact that the problem concerns so many people, leading politicians and law firms began to be interested in the case. At the moment, you can find typical law firms dealing with Swiss franc loans. Assistance to frankers is based primarily on referring the case to court against the bank. A few years ago, not many people decided on this form, now more and more franchise holders want to fight for their rights in court and, more importantly, more and more of them win.
The Frankowicze are going to court! – that is, the fight against the banks
Much of the blame for the drama of hundreds of thousands of people rests with the banks. At the time of signing contracts with customers, banks not only did not reliably inform customers about the risk involved in taking a foreign currency loan, but they even persuaded customers to do so, or indirectly forced them to do so, giving them the choice of “either a loan in francs or nothing at all”. . This practice has been considered unfair, and currently many cases are pending in Polish courts, brought on behalf of borrowers by law firms dealing with the assistance of franchise holders.
Lawyers specializing in Swiss franc loans emphasize that such cases can drag on for many years. More and more often, however, the borrowers are sided with by the courts that consider some clauses in contracts to be abusive (i.e. illegal), and even invalidate entire contracts. This can be seen more and more from the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU, which is favorable for franchise holders.
Are you frank? Work !
If you or one of your loved ones has become a franking person and you think they have been deceived by the bank, you should act. The most reasonable solution in this situation is to contact a legal adviser dealing with Swiss franc loans or law firms that deal with Swiss franc loans. Currently, there are many entities on the Polish market that specialize in this. A person working in such a law firm has the appropriate knowledge to listen to your story and analyze the contract to find the best possible way to help you.