Salvador Merino, explaining the reason for his protest. :: M.C.J
He has obtained more than 1,200 signatures on a petition so far and says that people are feeling “powerless”
“The amount that they are overcharging me may not be excessive, but it’s my money and they’re stealing it.” That is how Salvador Merino describes his feelings when he was told that, despite several court rulings - including from the Supreme Court - about mortgage floor rate clauses, his could not be renegotiated. When he heard the news of the court ruling, this Fuengirola resident went to his bank to see how he could benefit from its application but since that day he has had to spend four months protesting outside the bank before it would agree to renegotiate the conditions of his mortgage.
“When they told me the first time that my profile was not among those who could benefit from the court ruling, I decided that instead of going home and complaining about it I would go to the bank - a branch of Cajasur in the centre of Fuengirola - and make my feelings public,” says this self-employed man. After a few days protesting in Avenida Jesús Santos Reín, he discovered that there were cases far worse than his: “Many people are really suffering, but nothing is being done for them,” he explains.
So, Salvador Merino decided to go a step further and he began to collect signatures on a petition to demand that loans be renegotiated. So far, more than 1,200 people have signed. Now that he has achieved his own objective, he plans to take this protest to senior organisations, “because many people do not know that every month the banks are charging them more than they should, and we feel powerless.”
Salvador bought his home in 1999. According to his mortgage contract, no matter what the rate of interest he would pay no less than 3.5 per cent and no more than 12 per cent. A ruling by the Supreme Court in May 2013 declared that mortgage floor rate clauses which had not been properly explained at the time of signing the contract were illegal. In November, a sentence from the Number 1 Mercantile Court of Cordoba called for “floor rate clauses of between 3 and 4 per cent to be withdrawn from all Cajasur mortgages.” As that applied to Salvador’s mortgage, a few days later he went to his bank to renegotiate the conditions. “I thought it would just involve going to the bank a couple of times, until the manager was able to see me and we could reach an agreement,” he says. That was on November 26th and, until a few days ago, the bank refused to modify the conditions of the loan.
According to Cajasur, an appeal has been lodged against the ruling and, in any case, it is up to customers to ask for their mortgages to be modified. After a great deal of effort, Salvador Merino has managed to do this, and he urges others to do the same.