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Frankish versus banks. Piotr Czarnecki, former CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Polska, comments

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The franc contracts were legal. Clauses which are said to be abusive today were not like that then – said Piotr Czarnecki, former president of Raiffeisen Bank Polska, in an interview with “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”. In his opinion, clients had information about the currency risk. – Demanding after 15 years of implementation of another standard retroactively is unjustified – assessed Czarnecki.

The data of the Polish Bank Association shows that at the end of July this year. 62 393 cases related to foreign currency loans were pending before Polish courts, of which 3,958 were in the second instance.

Piotr Czarnecki, former CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Polska, spoke to “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” about loans in Swiss francs. When asked if such contracts were fair, he pointed out that “now everything is presented as if the banks were making contracts that were illegal.” – And this is fundamental nonsense – these contracts were legal. Clauses which are said to be abusive today were not like that back then, he said.

– Banks were subject to supervisory audits. And no one – until the franc has abruptly strengthened against the zloty in January 2015 – these loan agreements were not questioned, nor were there any abusive clauses – noted Czarnecki.

In his opinion, “these loans are good and were made to the right customers.” – It was the middle and upper class. We are not talking about Kowalski, who has creditworthiness for a cash loan of PLN 2,000. So if you ask if these loans were granted honestly, my answer is yes, after 15 years they are still well repaid – there is no other such portfolio – he emphasized.

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Swiss franc loans – Piotr Czarnecki comments

When asked if clients had information about the currency risk, he said that “after all, they signed statements about full awareness of this risk”. – Let’s recall what happened in 2006-2007. Back then, everyone was in favor of loans in francs, politicians considered them to be the engine that boosted the economic situation, which was also justified. We, as the sector, asked the supervision to limit them, because we thought that a dangerous race was about to begin – who would give faster, cheaper, more, but no less risky – said the former president of Raiffeisen Bank Polska in an interview with Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

At the same time, he assured that the banks did not put their customers on a mine. – Thanks to these loans, the Polish developing middle class finally had a place to live – new houses and flats – said Czarnecki. He also assured that the banks informed in a manner consistent with the regulations about the exchange rate and interest rate risk, therefore – in Czarnecki’s opinion – “demanding implementation of a different standard retroactively after 15 years is unjustified”.

When asked whether this wave could not be stopped, he noted that there was still a structural gap between housing demand and supply. – The customers wanted it. Now they say: we didn’t know anything, they pressed us. You mean they didn’t need these properties? Nonsense. Today, these educated people, also economically, pretend to be naive for the sake of money. After all, there are also economists with loans in Swiss francs who say in court: I did not understand the exchange rate risk – noted the former president of Raiffeisen Bank Polska.

– How is it possible that the state allows the “Polish method of banking”, as President Cezary Stypułkowski of mBank put it: borrow, not return, reduce? And such actions, systemically harmful, change the entire reality of the bank-client relationship. Because why only Swiss franc borrowers are aggrieved and unaware? We will see whether the same argument will be used by zloty borrowers, especially those from recent years who took a loan at the very bottom of the interest rate – he added.

Swiss franc loans – repayment

In an interview with “DGP”, Piotr Czarnecki reminded that in 2015 banks introduced special loan repayment facilities, known as a six-pack, for which they allocated over PLN 800 million.

– Has anyone else on the market had: credit holidays, additional payments, the possibility of extending or postponing loan installments? One has to ask openly: why is this money not used? Because almost no one qualifies. Because they are just normal customers, not floods. They will only pay off not 10-15 years, as assumed, but 25 or 30 years – he explained.

In his opinion, Swiss franc borrowers “could easily continue to pay them off, because their creditworthiness is only higher, but this whole campaign has been launched and today hardly anyone wants to enter into any currency conversions.” – If you can get out of repayment at all, what for? And now let’s ask – is it fair to all other bank customers and other borrowers? Czarnecki asked.

PAP / Adam Ziemienowicz

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, PAP

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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