* Croatia has 60,000 Swiss franc loan holders
* Government already fixed franc rate for one year
* Recession-hit Croatia faces election in late 2015 (Adds context)
BUDAPEST, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Croatia hopes to draw up measures within a few months to help its Swiss franc mortgage holders, whose debts have surged with the franc’s rise in value, central bank Governor Boris Vujcic said on Monday.
“We are working on the solution that we outlined,” Vujcic told reporters on the sidelines of a central banking conference in Budapest.
Croatia would look at borrowers’ creditworthiness and options including the possibility of restructuring some loans and providing for a long-term lease on a property rather than outright ownership, he said.
Swiss franc loans were popular across central and eastern Europe in the early 2000s because of their low interest rates, but exchange rates have turned against the borrowers, driving up repayment costs in local currency terms.
Asked whether a solution could be in place before the next parliamentary election due in late 2015, Vujcic said: “The goal is definitely to do it in a few months’ time.”
About 60,000 people in Croatia have borrowed in Swiss francs, usually for mortgages. The loans amount to about 27 billion kuna ($4 billion) or a little under 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The government, struggling with recession, growing unemployment and indebtedness, fixed the exchange rate for loan holders last month at 6.39 kuna per one Swiss franc for one year pending a lasting solution.
The finance ministry, the central bank and commercial banks started discussing the options last week.
The central bank estimates banks would lose some 400 million kuna in income this year under the fixed rate. ($1 = 6.8015 kuna) (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Writing by Igor Ilic in Zagreb; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Ruth Pitchford)