WARSAW Feb 10 Polish borrowers seeking
compensation for being sold expensive Swiss franc-denominated
mortgages should not expect the government to impose a
settlement on the banks but take their individual claims to
court instead, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling party,
said on Friday.
In response shares in Polish lenders with significant
Swiss-franc loans portfolio surged.
More than half a million Poles took out Swiss franc loans to
benefit from low interest rates in Switzerland, but now face
much bigger repayments because the Swiss currency has doubled in
value against the zloty over the last few years.
Previously Kaczynski had said foreign currency-denominated
mortgages must be converted into zlotys at the expense of the
banks. Kaczynski holds no official government position but is
seen by analysts as the most important decision-maker in Poland.
"I think they should take matters into their own hands and
start fighting in the courts," Kaczynski told public radio
Jedynka on Friday on being asked whether Swiss franc borrowers
should wait for the authorities to take action on their behalf.
"Not because of not trusting the president or the
government, but because the president and the government are in
a situation that is determined by economic circumstances," he
Solving the problems faced by foreign currency mortgage
borrowers was one of President Andrzej Duda's and the Law and
Justice (PiS) party promises during the election campaigns in
"The government cannot take action that would for example
shake the banking system because this would affect all citizens
terribly as well as those that took out loans in francs,"
Kaczynski said on Friday.
"No government under any circumstances can do this," he
Following his comments state-controlled PKO BP's
share price rose by 3 percent, while BZ WBK, majority
owned by Spain's Banco Santander, increased by 2.5
percent. Meanwhile mBank, which is controlled by
Germany's Commerzbank, rose by 6.5 percent.
Worries that the PiS could compel the banks to convert the
loans into zlotys at old exchange rates at their expense
contributed to sharp falls in the banks' share prices last year.
But since then the government has softened its stance and
earlier this year the Financial Stability Committee recommended
that banks should put more capital aside if they hold foreign
exchange-denominated mortgages, in an effort to get more of the
loans converted to zlotys.
(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Greg Mahlich)