The outstanding volume of foreign currency loans (FX lending) to private households fell by € 2.1 billion or -15.5% adjusted for exchange rate effects in 2020. During the 4th Quarter alone, the amount fell by € 0.6 billion or -5.0% compared to the preceding quarter. Consequently, since the introduction of the ban on granting of new loans in the autumn of 2008 and the accompanying measures to limit risk, the outstanding volume of foreign currency loans (FX lending) to private households has fallen by € 37 billion or -78.5% adjusted for exchange rate effects. In absolute figures there are foreign currency loans to private households outstanding with a current value of € 11.2 billion; in 2006, at its highest level, this amount stood at € 38.8 billion. This is the finding of the FMA’s survey on foreign currency loans in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Consistent risk limitation for banks as well as private households
“The massive and unpredictable economic upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have confirmed how important it was to push on in a consistent and sustainable manner for reducing outstanding foreign currency loans and loans with repayment vehicles,” remarked the FMA’s executive directors, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller: “Nowadays, foreign currency loans no long present risks for the stability of Austria’s financial market, nor for individual credit institutions. Hundreds of thousands of private households no longer had to worry in 2020, an extremely difficult year, as they had already got out of these risky financial products, or at the very least had limited the risks attached to them. We will continue to follow the long pathway that we took back on 2008 through to a successful conclusion.”
The proportion of foreign currency loans of outstanding loans to private households were reduced by 1.5 percentage points to 6.8% in 2020. At the height of the foreign currency loan boom this share stood at 31.8%. As of year-end 2020, 96.4% of the volume of the amount owed for loans in foreign currencies was for loans denominated in Swiss franc (CHF), with the remaining amount almost exclusively in Japanese yen (JPY).
Since the start of 2008, the Swiss franc (CHF) has appreciated by 53.0% up to 31 December 2020 against the euro; during the final quarter of 2020, the exchange rate varied between 1.0675 and 1.0862.
Journalists may address further enquiries to:
Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0)676/882 49 516