WARSAW Feb 16 Poland's prime minister on
Thursday dismissed Wojciech Kwasniak as deputy head of the
country's banking watchdog, a man regarded as the architect of a
regulatory regime that helped local lenders avoid the crisis
that has rocked banks elsewhere.
The government and KNF regulator did not give a reason for
the dismissal, while Kwasniak was not immediately available for
comment. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has replaced
numerous officials at state agencies and heads of state-run
companies since its election victory in October 2015.
Kwasniak, 54, has worked in banking supervision since the
early 1990s and his tough stance towards banks attracted both
praise and criticism.
In 2014, he was severely beaten after receiving threats.
According to prosecutors, he fell victim to criminals
responsible for siphoning out money from credit union SKOK in
Wolomin, a city near Warsaw, once known for its mafia.
"Prime Minister Beata Szydlo at the request of the chairman
of the KNF Marek Chrzanowski dismissed as of Feb. 15 deputy
chairmen Leslaw Gajek and Wojciech Kwasniak," the KNF said in a
A government spokesman said the changes posed no risk to the
safety of the banking sector as the two men had been replaced by
experienced regulators - Filip Switala and Marcin Pachucki.
A senior banking source who declined to be named said
Kwasniak's decisions were good for banking sector safety, but
not always good for the economy, as they were often seen as
holding back banks from lending.
"Tightening of requirements did not help the economy, but
from the point of view of the banking sector it improved safety.
You know - no decision, no mistakes," the source said.
"The key thing is that there will be bigger unpredictability
within the banking sector now," another industry source added.
Poland's banking sector index has risen almost 18
percent so far this year.
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Mark Potter)