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Polish banks call for tax, regulatory easing amid sluggish corporate lending

The Polish Bank Association wants regulatory and tax burdens on the country's banking sector to be reduced and hopes for "calm, factual discussions" with policymakers on the matter, news agency PAP reported Aug. 12, citing association head Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz.

Pointing to slowing corporate lending in Poland, Pietraszkiewicz noted that the banking sector sees a need for corrections when it comes to tax and regulatory requirements, adding that the adjustments ought to be made within the next few months.

The association believes that some bank capital buffers should be lower, while part of the bank asset tax, introduced in 2016, should be used to boost Poland's bank guarantee fund. Pietraszkiewicz also argued that lenders' contributions to the bank guarantee fund should be recognized as tax-deductible costs, and new lending should be exempt from the asset tax. The association already called in March for regulatory shift to unburden the sector, warning that the current regulatory landscape could be a source of problems for some lenders.

Commenting on the upcoming ruling of the EU Court of Justice regarding the use of abusive clauses in foreign currency-indexed mortgage agreements in Poland, Pietraszkiewicz said the ruling will outline a general approach to the issue, but decisions taken by domestic courts will play a key role. The association earlier warned that banks could face costs of at least 60 billion Polish zlotys in the event of an unfavorable EU top court ruling, equivalent to about four years of the Polish banking sector's earnings.

As of Aug. 12, US$1 was equivalent to 3.86 Polish zlotys.