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Reports: Polish court cancels CHF mortgage loan contract in landmark RBI case

The Warsaw District Court sided with a Polish couple in a Swiss franc-indexed mortgage loan dispute with the local branch of Raiffeisen Bank International AG, declaring the loan contract invalid, news agency PAP reported Jan. 3.

The plaintiffs wanted the Polish court to annul the mortgage agreement, arguing that foreign currency indexation provisions in the contract were illegal and allowed the bank to arbitrarily set the exchange rate and the value of loan installments. The Polish court referred the case to the European Court of Justice, which said in October 2019 that illegal provisions relating to exchange rates in Swiss franc-indexed mortgage loan contracts cannot be replaced by general provisions of Polish civil law, but EU law does not preclude the annulment of such contracts.

The Polish court said Jan. 3 that the bank failed to properly inform the borrowers about foreign exchange risks associated with the mortgage loan and questioned the foreign currency indexation mechanism enshrined in the contract.

Financial settlements between the borrowers and the bank following the cancellation of the contract will be subject to separate court proceedings that may take several years, PAP said, citing a lawyer representing Raiffeisen. The bank is yet to decide whether it will appeal the latest verdict, Parkiet said Jan. 4.

About 3,200 new lawsuits were launched against Poland-based banks by CHF mortgage holders during the third quarter of 2019, an increase of more than 40% quarter over quarter, and more cases are expected to be filed in the coming months following the ECJ's October ruling, Polish media outlets said in December.