ASUFIN consolidates European network of financial users

Posted on 01/06/2017 · Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Events, FX Loans in Europe, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Spain

» ASUFIN brought together almost 100 people at the Bar Association of Barcelona to deal with the problem of the FX Loans in Europe
» Judges, lawyers and representatives of European consumer associations explained the impact of FX Loans in their countries
»Patricia Suárez, President of ASUFIN:” We have brought together representatives of countries that have never been with us, that means a real advance in the defense of European Financial Consumers “

ASUFIN in collaboration with the Barcelona Youth Lawyers Group (GAJ Barcelona) has invited representatives of consumer associations from different European countries to learn more about the situation of families with FX Loans in Europe. The Conference began at 16:30 hours with a large number of assistants interested in other countries situation. ASUFIN counted with speakers from 7 countries from both the associative and legal fields. The conference included a simultaneous translation service with 3 professionals translating English, Spanish and Italian.

The first speaker was Sigrún Davíðsdóttir, an Icelandic journalist and economist settled in London. Davíðsdóttir showed the struggle of his country to eradicate the Fx Loans and later the class actions that managed to take a step forward in favor of the consumer. As he showed, Australia observed that “No one in their right mind would have taken out a FX loan. FX Loans is not suitable as a mass product. “ Iceland is an isolated case. While it is true that their struggle has been arduous, it is a country that has brought to justice those responsible for this barbarism, an example that shows that it is possible.

FX Loans in the Balkans

The situation in the Balkans is perhaps the hardest known so far. Slovenia has only 10 judgments on Fx Loans and all have been against consumers. The case law is not encouraging in a territory that has thousands of people, who are not heard by their government. For Alja Pestar, president of Združenje Frank, “Loans in Swiss francs sold in my country are a toxic product. We hope the government will respond for us. ” But, in addition to the government, there is another perspective to deal with and it is the jurisprudence of the courts. To explain this we have the presence of Boštjan M. Zupančič, Judge at the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. Zupančič explained how the European courts have acted on this issue as well as the Constitutional Court of his country, Slovenia. In this way, it sends a powerful message to all, and is that the mortgage in foreign currency must reach the court in Strasbourg so that a favorable opinion prevails over coming judgments.

Denis Majo, president of Udruge Franak, saw that from 20004 to 2008 80% of the loans granted in his country were in foreign currency. Croatia has more than € 120,000 for this toxic product that brought the lenders to the case. For Majo: “The banks gave false information to their customers.” Although it is true that after the years many affected were transferred to euros, there is still the problem of the illegal exchange rate. Nicole Kwiatkowski, a Croatian consumer advocate, says that “there is bad regulation in the sector and poor institutional control” on this issue, which complicates the defense of those affected.

Dalibor Mrša, lawyer, continued the paper talking about a territory hard hit by this product. Thus, he began his speech recalling the recent news of 25 people who had committed suicide by having taken out these loans. In your country, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the situation is complicated; However, even knowing that it will be a long and hard road, he hopes that this problem will be solved soon.

The last to take part in this block was the Serbian lawyer Jelena Pavlovic. Grateful to be able to participate in a day like this, Jelena confessed to be one affected by a loan in Swiss francs. These loans were promoted in Serbia in 2005 by the Ministry of Finance. Pavlovic denounces the aggressiveness of a campaign that did not inform the Serbian lenders and that at present represents between 3.9 and 8% of the mortgages of his country. Jelena Pavlovic: “The Central Bank is not interested in solving this problem, neither is the government. The courts have a lot of respect for the banking sector. ” Thus, a paper ends with a very clear message, and is that “all the people who allowed this should be legally sanctioned to be able to speak of justice.”

FX Loans in Poland and Italy

The first to intervene was the Polish lawyer Beata Komarnicka Nowak. In your country the explanation of why Poland is indebted in Swiss francs is very simple: banks sold this loan as more reliable than a conventional one. Beata denounces that “politicians in Poland have done practically nothing to solve this problem”. In Poland, 5.95% of borrowers have loans in Swiss francs. The country is looking forward to an imminent Polish Supreme Court ruling on the appeal of an affected person. The lawyer hopes that this battle will end soon and rescues the motto of ASUFIN stating that “They have the money, but we the reason”

The second and last speaker of this table was Franca Berno, president of the Italian association Tuconfin. Since 2011, the association is working for the cancellation of this mortgage marketed mainly in its country by Barclays. To date, the bank has not complied with any of the sanctions. They have also obtained some extrajudicial agreement that has alleviated the situation of many families. The victories won are based on denouncing the lack of transparency of the clauses. Currently, Tuconfin is collaborating with institutional bodies to put an end to a fast and definitive way to this type of contracts and thus avoid judicial collapse.

Financial Frauds and Health

This block was in charge of María Victoria Zunzunegui, researcher of the Finsalud Foundation. This project aims to assess the health status of populations affected by financial fraud. In this way, they examine the potential relationship between being affected by a financial product and the deterioration of physical and mental health. In the study presented by Finsalud, the health of preferential and affected by multi-currency mortgage is compared. In this study we have analyzed the health status of those who have received financial compensation with those who do not. In this way, compared to those affected by multi-currency mortgage, it is verified how these are very poor health. The researcher recommends psychological care as the first step to address this problem. It is very important the help of professionals to overcome this feeling of guilt and deceit and; As a consequence, to alleviate and improve the state of health.

Fx Loans in Spain

Patricia Suárez, President of ASUFIN has briefly introduced the situation in Spain. In this way, she has pointed out the important advancesin Spanish Courts, which mostly are in favour of consumers.

Finally, Carlos Sánchez Martín, lawyer of the technical cabinet of the Spanish Supreme Court. The Judge has explained the new perspective given by the Supreme Court on the legal nature of this product. A ruling that revealed that an Fx Loan was an hybrid, a derivative + a mortgage. Likewise, he pointed out the importance of the client having received correct information; Aspect that is determinant for a sentence to be positive for the consumer. In the same way, it is also important to regulate the control of transparency to determine the scope of application. In this regard, Sánchez Martín regrets that the latter is not in the hands of the Supreme Court, but of the legislature.