The Swiss National Bank (SNB) jolted global financial markets this month when read more... it removed its cap on the Swiss franc, leading the currency to gain as much as 40 percent against the euro. (EURCHF=EBS) Franc loans have been popular in stocks parts of central and eastern Europe because of their low interest rates and the Swiss currency's sharp appreciation has given a headache to borrowers in countries from Poland to Croatia. Wealthy Austria, which banned many foreign currency loans in 2008, has been less affected by the Swiss currency move. But the removal of the cap means more costly debt servicing for some 151,000 households who hold a total 29 billion euros ($32.5 billion) in Swiss franc-denominated loans. "For Austrians who have loans in francs this means they have around 20 to 25 percent more debt," the Oesterreich newspaper quoted Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling as saying. "I don't think that the franc will stay this high in the long term because Switzerland can't afford it. Exports get too expensive and tourism will drop," Schelling said. He did not say how he expected Switzerland to rein in its currency.