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FMA Foreign Currency Loans Survey, 4th Quarter 2021: outstanding volume € 9.8 bn, adjusted for exchange rate effects now four-fifths less than in 2008

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The outstanding volume of foreign currency loans (FX lending) to private households fell by € 1.9 billion or -16.8% adjusted for exchange rate effects in 2021. During the 4th quarter alone, the amount fell by € 420 million or -4.3% compared to the preceding quarter. Due to the significant exchange rate strengthening of the Swiss franc during the 4th quarter, the absolute volume outstanding in Euro has however increased slightly for the first time since 2015, by € 28 million to € 9.8 bn at year-end; the outstanding volume however fell by € 1.4 billion during the 2021 calendar year. At its peak in 2006, there was a total of € 38.8 billion outstanding. In total, 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 € 38.8 billion or -82.1% adjusted for exchange rate effects. These were the findings of the FMA’s Survey on Foreign Currency Loans in Q4 2021.

Consistent risk limitation for banks as well as private households

“The significant appreciation of the Swiss franc during the fourth quarter has again shown how risky and vulnerable foreign currency loans are for private households,” remarked the FMA’s Executive Director Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller: “This also confirms how important it was to push on with the reduction of outstanding foreign currency loans in a consequent and sustainable manner. Today, foreign currency loans neither pose risks for Austria’s financial market stability, nor for individual credit institutions. Hundreds of thousands of private households have less worries about exchange rate volatilities, as they had either already exited these risky financial products, or at the very least had limited the risks attached to them.”

The proportion of foreign currency loans of outstanding loans to private households were reduced further by 1.3 percentage points to 5.5% in 2021. At the height of the foreign currency loan boom this share stood at 31.8%. As of year-end 2021, 96.9% 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 60.0% up to 31 December 2021 against the euro (and by 6 percentage points in 2021 alone); during the final quarter, the exchange rate varied between 1.0331 and 1.0791.

Journalists may address further enquiries to:

Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson):

+43/(0)1/24959-6006, or +43/(0)676/882 49 516

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