Not only Swiss franc borrowers can demand the invalidation of a loan agreement in court: those in debt in euro or dollars can also seek protection. However, it is worth keeping the proportions in mind: it is estimated that banks granted between PLN 600,000 and PLN 800,000 a dozen or so years ago. loans in Swiss francs, while loans in dollars or euros are rare.
Last year turned out to be a good year for Swiss franc borrowers: the Court of Justice of the European Union decided in several important cases, and above all, it found that the loan agreement between the bank and the borrower was invalid from the beginning due to the bank’s conclusion of unfair contract terms, and the bank had no right to demand any other benefits from the consumer apart from the return of the paid capital and payment of statutory interest for delay from the moment of requesting payment. Moreover, Swiss franc borrowers continued their winning charge in national courts. In the first half of 2022, Swiss franc borrowers won as many as 3,917 cases, and banks won 117. 2023 brought similar results.
Not only Swiss franc holders can fight for their rights
Karolina Pilawska, who deals with Swiss franc cases, believes that not only those indebted in Swiss francs have a chance to end unsatisfactory cooperation with the bank. He argues that clients who have taken out mortgage loans linked to the euro, the US dollar or the Japanese yen and experience an increase in the amount of loan installments and debt due to exchange rate changes may demand that their loan agreements be declared invalid in the courts.
“If you take out a loan indexed to the euro in the amount of PLN 300,000, PLN, where the current total repayments are approximately PLN 470,000. PLN, such a borrower would have to return only PLN 300,000 to the bank. PLN,” Pilawska wrote in a comment.
She also added that the bank would be obliged to return the difference to the borrower, in this case PLN 170,000. zloty. “In addition, there is interest for delay at the level of 11.25% per annum on the amount claimed in court, for which the borrower also has the right to fight,” the lawyer said.
Mec. Pilawska argues that all those indebted in a foreign currency enjoy the same protection and Swiss franc borrowers are not unique here. “All these groups of borrowers can benefit from the same legal protection mechanisms if they believe that their loan agreements are legally defective,” she wrote. She encouraged people who suspect that a loan agreement contains unfair clauses and borrowers who have not been adequately informed about the risk related to the exchange rate to pursue their rights in court.
It should be taken into account that while it is estimated that banks granted between 600 and 800 thousand loans in Swiss francs (and these are agreements from about 15-20 years ago. Banks widely offered loans in Swiss francs in 2006-2010), loans in other foreign currencies are rare.
CJEU: court must examine potentially unfair records ex officio
A few days ago, the CJEU issued another ruling in favor of Swiss franc borrowers. It ruled that the court supervising enforcement proceedings may ex officio examine a potentially unfair contract provision.
According to statistics, from the beginning of 2023 to the end of the third quarter, district courts across the country received one third more Swiss franc cases than a year earlier. Many borrowers were encouraged to file a lawsuit by the favorable decision of the CJEU.
– It should be noted that in many district courts the year-to-year increase in the number of Swiss franc cases is three-digit. Looking at the percentage data, the highest increase was recorded in the District Court in Zamość – by almost 193%. Second in this ranking is the SO in Krosno – over 171 percent. The leaders also include the Warszawa-Praga SO in Warsaw – almost 171 percent, and the SO in Opole – almost 160 percent. – said Adrian Goska, expert on Swiss franc problems and legal advisor at the SubiGo Law Firm, at the end of last year.