Poles with Swiss-franc mortgages demand govt help

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poles who have taken out mortgages in Swiss francs are protesting in a number of cities, demanding government help after the franc soared in recent weeks, making their monthly payments significantly higher.

It's a pressing issue in Poland, where there's more than 500,000 outstanding Swiss-franc loans in this nation of 38 million people. It threatens to become a serious problem for the government ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

About 200 people gathered in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw on Saturday, and similar protests were also held in Krakow, Lodz, Gdansk and Wroclaw.

Many Poles took out such loans several years ago, lured by Swiss interest rates that were much lower than those on Polish zloty loans. After the financial crisis, the Swiss-franc loans were virtually banned.