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Report: PKO denies being under pressure from forex mortgage portfolio

PKO Bank Polski SA is awaiting for the upcoming EU Court of Justice ruling on foreign-currency mortgage loans in Poland and has not recorded a big surge in the number of new court cases launched by forex loan holders, website Interia reported Aug. 13, citing the lender's top executives.

EU top court's ruling, which is expected to be announced after the summer holidays, will refer mainly to foreign currency-indexed mortgages, which constitute a very small fraction of PKO Bank's portfolio, the lender's CEO Zbigniew Jagiełło said. PKO issued the indexed loans after 2009, which means they will not be affected by the pending ruling, the news report noted.

PKO's deputy head, Rafał Kozłowski, said that the increase in the number of new court cases launched by forex mortgage holders against the lender in the second quarter was "neither large nor small," though he pointed to increased activity of local legal services companies targeting forex mortgage holders ahead of the upcoming EU court ruling.

PKO, which is Poland's largest bank by assets, said in its half-year earnings report that 1,160 court proceedings relating to forex mortgages were pending against the bank as of the end of June, with the disputed total amounting to 265 million zlotys. Most of the final court rulings issued to date were favorable for the lender, PKO noted.

The value of net forex mortgage loans in PKO Bank's portfolio stood at 24.6 billion zlotys as of June 30, including 3.4 billion zlotys worth of indexed loans, all issued after 2009. Gross forex mortgage loans, granted by PKO and its unit PKO Bank Hipoteczny SA, amounted to 25.5 billion zlotys as of the end of June, equivalent to 7.7% of the lender's total assets, PKO noted in its earnings presentation.

As of Aug. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 3.87 Polish zlotys.