Romanians protest repayments for Swiss franc loans, blame the banks, urge new laws

Hundreds of people have protested in Romania against high repayments for Swiss franc loans, blaming the banks for offering deceptively cheap loans and calling on the government to regulate hard currency loans.

"The bank tricked us!" yelled up to 1,000 demonstrators gathered in a downtown square. "You have the power, we have the pain!" read one banner.

About 75,000 Romanians have loans in Swiss francs, taking them out during the economic boom of the mid-2000s, because they had a lower interest rate.

They have been hit by a strong franc and even more so after the Swiss National Bank abolished its currency ceiling this month causing the franc to increase by 40 percent against the euro.

Lawmakers are discussing implementing rules to protect people who take out hard currency loans.