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Polish banks, forex loan holders all claim victories in court disputes

Two associations representing Polish banks and their clients presented diverging statistics regarding the results of foreign currency loan disputes in 2019, both claiming victories in the majority of court cases.

More than 70% of final rulings and 60% of nonbinding verdicts handed down in court disputes between banks and forex mortgage holders in 2019 were made in favor of lenders, according to the Polish Bank Association.

As of the end of 2019, there were 16,252 forex mortgage disputes in Polish courts, including 13,390 cases related to foreign currency-indexed loans and 2,862 cases related to foreign currency-denominated loans. The cases constitute 1.71% of all granted forex mortgages and 3.6% of forex mortgage contracts that are still active, the bank association said, citing results of its survey among 11 financial institutions with the largest forex mortgage portfolios.

Forex loan holders tended to go to courts more frequently to solve their disputes with banks compared with previous years, but the percentage of court cases is still small, and it is too premature to say that the court disputes result in any serious reduction in the financial results of banks, the association said.

Meanwhile, the organization representing Polish forex mortgage holders presented different data, saying that almost 69% of final court verdicts backed forex mortgage borrowers during the same period. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, after the ECJ issued a verdict favoring Polish forex mortgage borrowers, bank clients won 30 forex mortgage-related court cases with banks, and lost nine such cases, according to the presented data. The organization also plans a class action lawsuit against Poland's State Treasury in 2020 over the lack of effective actions to protect forex loan borrowers against banks, Puls Biznesu said, citing news agency PAP.