News Column

Kazakh Protesters Demand Mortgage Revision After Devaluation

February 19, 2014

By RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

February 19, 2014

ASTANA -- Kazakhs are demanding that their mortgage loans be revised after the National Bank last week announced a 19 percent devaluation of the national currency, the tenge.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the National Bank's headquarters in Almaty on February 19 and handed a petition addressed to the bank's chairman.

The petitioners say their mortgage loans were taken in U.S. dollars when the rate was 150-155 tenges to $1, while the rate rose to 185-189 tenges to $1 after last week's devaluation.

The protesters complain that since their salaries are in tenges, their mortgage debts have increased dramatically.

A National Bank spokesman told the protesters that the bank had established a commission to revise the mortgages.

The tenge's devaluation has triggered a series of public protests in Almaty, as well as a bank run by panicked savers on three private banks on February 18.

Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W.Washington DC 20036.

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Source: Radio Free Europe Documents & Publications

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