ECONOMY

Swiss franc home loans gain favor

The number of mortgage loans issued in Swiss francs rose some 50 percent in the last year as home buyers took advantage of the lower interest rates. Data show that the amount of mortgage loans in Swiss francs at the end of June reached some 600 million euros from 400 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Most of the loans issued in francs were from customers that rolled over previous mortgages with a higher cost attached, said a bank source. Greece’s credit expansion rate has been outpacing many of its eurozone peers but has started to slow. Provisional data from the Bank of Greece, the country’s central bank, showed that credit expansion in May slowed to an annual pace of 17.2 percent from 17.5 percent in April. Credit to households and enterprises picked up marginally to 22 percent from 21.9 percent in the previous month, but credit issued to households slowed to 19.3 percent in May from 19.9 percent. Savings of more than a percentage point have been drawing customers to the Swiss franc denominated loans. The European Central Bank, which has been steadily raising the cost of lending, had its basic rate at 4.25 percent at the beginning of July while the respective charge for the Swiss franc was at 2.75 percent.