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Poland scraps systemic risk buffer for banks amid coronavirus outbreak

Poland's finance ministry lifted the systemic risk buffer for banks as part of the government's 212 billion zloty financial aid program to help soften the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The removal of the buffer will free up 30 billion zlotys in capital, allowing banks to provide an additional 40 billion zlotys in loans to small and medium-sized businesses and contribute 0.5% to the country's GDP over 2.5 years, the ministry said.

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority also introduced a number of measures to maintain the stability of the banking sector and ensure lending to the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, including the reduction of O-SII buffers. The FSA also proposed to adjust capital and solvency requirements to support insurance companies during the virus outbreak, with a more flexible regulatory approach to be implemented for investment funds and other capital market participants as well.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

Meanwhile, Poland's central bank on March 19 repurchased 2.66 billion zlotys worth of treasury bonds from local banks as part of measures launched to support financial institutions during the pandemic.

As of March 19, US$1 was equivalent to 4.26 Polish zlotys.