BNP Paribas’ Polish unit to wait before deciding on settlement of foreign currency loans

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WARSAW, March 1 (Reuters)The Polish unit of BNP Paribas BNP1.WA will not decide whether or not to offer out-of-court settlements to Swiss franc mortgage holders until the Supreme Court issues guidelines on the matter on March 25, its chief executive said on Monday.

Thousands of Polish borrowers took out Swiss franc-denominated loans over a decade ago to take advantage of low Swiss interest rates, but then faced inflated repayments when the zloty weakened sharply. against the franc.

In December, the head of Poland’s financial markets regulator, KNF, suggested that banks convert foreign currency loans into zlotys as if they had been taken out in the local currency originally.

While some observers initially expected banks to try to finalize a plan for such out-of-court settlements ahead of the Supreme Court sitting, lenders now appear to be waiting for guidelines that could prove crucial for clients. who are trying to decide whether to go to court.

“We want to be as well prepared as possible for the decision we have to make, and we will not take it until March 25,” said Przemyslaw Gdanski.

He added that the bank was testing out-of-court settlements to see how customers react to different terms in contracts.

The Polish central bank, which said it could participate in the KNF plan, said on Thursday that it had not yet received any information from the banks regarding the conditions it has set, including the resolution of legal uncertainties related to the plan. and a sufficient level of participation. by banks. He added that the banks were probably awaiting the Supreme Court session.

“Today it is too early to say whether we will be ready to offer such settlements or not,” said Gdanski.

(Reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz, written by Alan Charlish; editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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