Russians with foreign currency mortgages protest at banks

Russians who took out mortgages denominated in a foreign currency are protesting at their banks to demand that the loans be restructured.

They chose foreign currency mortgages years ago to take advantage of lower interest rates abroad, but when Russia's currency collapsed, the cost of repaying those mortgages skyrocketed.

Groups of a few dozen mortgage holders held protests Thursday at several banks in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin was following the situation, but noted that these borrowers had made the decision themselves to take out mortgages in foreign currencies.

Only a small minority of Russian mortgage holders took out such loans. State bank VTB 24 says that of its 800,000 mortgages, fewer than 3,000 are denominated in foreign currencies.