The Franak association of holders of loans denominated in Swiss francs began a protest at the Sberbank office in central Zagreb on Tuesday, citing irregularities in the conversion of CHF loans into euro-denominated loans.

The association said it would be blocking the bank's work unti 7.30pm, with its members paying small amounts of money into their accounts and asking bank tellers questions about the conversion. They would also occupy all of the bank's cash machines.

The protest organiser, Dubravko Pokrovac, said that each of about 40 activists would spend at least 20 minutes at the counter.

One of the holders of a CHF loan and client of Sberbank, Goran Borkovic, said that this bank had the highest interest rate of all banks and did not offer a possibility of loan refinancing like other banks. Another CHF loan holder, Vanja Djuricic, said that the bank's statement on Monday, that it designed the conversion scheme in accordance with the law, was not true and that it violated consumer credit legislation.

"We have come here to express our dissatisfaction and to call on the Sberbank management to remove all the irregularities and to disclose the name of the person in the bank who is responsible for these irregularities," Djuricic said, adding that Sberbank had falsely increased the principal of her loan "which is now higher than seven years ago."

Sandra Zigar, who also has a CHF-pegged loan, said that Sberbank did not follow the formula for the calculation of the interest rate "because the interest rate would now be two to three per cent."

Franak announced similar protests at the Sberbank, Raiffeisenbank Austria and Hypo-Alpe-Adria-Bank offices in central Zagreb for Saturday.

Franak coordinator Goran Aleksic accused the central bank's auditors of not doing their job properly. He said that they had not checked the data the banks had used in their calculations for the conversion of CHF loans into euro loans.

Sberbank CEO Andrea Kovacs Woehry dismissed Franak's accusations as unfounded. She said that the irregularities the bank was being accused of "are not our practice and that can be easily verified."

"We at Sberbank are doing all we can to carry out the CHF loan conversion in accordance with the law and the requirements of the regulator," Kovacs Woehry said.

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