Long-running feud over Swiss-denominated mortgages nears settlement

Germany’s Commerzbank, Portugal’s BCP and France’s BNP Paribas all have foreign-exchange denominated mortgage portfolios in Poland as do domestic lenders such as PKO BP.

While most litigation cases have been won by the mortgage holders, there have been variations in how courts treat the issue.

This could be resolved by the Polish Supreme Court decision this week which is expected to determine whether banks agree to sign up to a plan for settlements with clients.

All 28 judges of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court are scheduled to address six questions from the President of the Supreme Court, clarifying issues surrounding the claims that can be made when a contract is found to have an unfair clause.

“This sitting is important because… it is the complete opinion of all the judges, the whole chamber,” said Kamil Chwiedosik, founder of the Life Without Credit organisation which helps mortgage holders in legal proceedings with banks.

In December, the head of Poland’s financial market regulator KNF proposed a plan for banks to convert foreign currency loans into zlotys as if they had been taken out in the local currency originally.

However, so far only the nation’s largest lender PKO BP has committed itself to settlements, with others waiting for Tuesday’s guidance.

The KNF estimates that the cost to banks of court cases could be between 70.5 billion and 234 billion zlotys, while the cost of its settlement plan would be 34.5 billion zlotys.

The Polish banking sector had a net profit of 7.7 billion zlotys in 2020.


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