WARSAW, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Poland is unlikely to come up with a more restrictive bill to help the owners of costly Swiss franc mortgages after it softened loan conversion plans, due to uncertainty in the banking sector, PAP news agency quoted the country’s prime minister as saying.
In August, Poland offered banks inducements to help its home owners struggling with Swiss franc mortgages to switch them into zlotys, in a step back from earlier proposals for a compulsory conversion process.
“It seems that today there is not such a possibility to adopt such a bill which the Swiss-franc community expects,” PAP quoted Beata Szydlo as saying in an interview to Radio Maryja on Wednesday evening.
“At the moment we need to look carefully at what is going on in the financial markets. We have worrying signals when it comes to Italian, German banks. We have to be prepared that some crisis could happen, that further turbulence is possible,” she said.
Szydlo also said she had discussed it with the central bank governor and the head of the financial market watchdog.
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.
This became a major issue during last year’s presidential election, with the winning conservative Andrzej Duda making a promise to solve the problem a key element of his campaign.
Duda’s proposal in January for legislation to force the banks to convert the foreign currency loans at historical exchange rates triggered a sell-off in bank stocks after financial regulator KNF said it would cost the lenders some 67 billion zlotys ($17.5 billion).
$1 = 3.8193 zlotys Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Sunil Nair