Debt Relief or Exit: The Long-Term Effects of Forex Loans on Latvian Households

The stubborn decision of the Latvian government to join the eurozone at any cost put a great burden on Latvian households after the crisis of 2008. Nevertheless, no popular protest movement emerged to change the course of this decision. This study discusses why Latvians undertook individual strategies to cope with the forex loan crisis. Particularly, I look at the choice between formal debt relief procedures and emigration as alternative individual strategies for defaulted debtors. These programmes have not reversed the negative migration trends or significantly decreased the number of Latvian households in arrears. Debt discharge is mainly attainable for wealthy individuals who are able to mobilise their financial and kinship resources. Worse-off debtors cannot attain debt discharge or are stigmatised during the process. Alternatively, emigration has offered a way to cope with overindebtedness and keep up with mortgages and consumer loan payments for a much larger segment of the debtor population.


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9 / 1
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Cite this article

Saulitis, A. 2022. ‘Debt Relief or Exit: The Long-Term Effects of Forex Loans on Latvian Households.’ Critical Housing Analysis 9 (1): 48-56.