Banking Law | Loans | Bank Guarantee Fund
The global situation related to the spread of COVID-19 is also having a significant impact on the banking sector. Banks, in cooperation with other institutions, are taking urgent measures to maintain financial stability and support their customers. The current situation is undoubtedly problematic for both banks and their customers, which is why it is so important to introduce solutions that will not overburden either side.
Can borrowers count on a loan suspension?
Yes. To the extent permitted by the current legislation, banks may internally defer loan repayments for up to 3 months and automatically extend the total loan repayment period by the same time.
A necessary condition is the extension of the term of loan repayment security. It is likely that banks will enable borrowers to apply for loan suspensions remotely, without leaving home, in a simplified manner and without requiring additional certificates. The planned assistance will concern housing loans, consumer loans for individuals and loans for businesses.
One issue for consideration is the payment of the interest portion of the instalment. Every loan instalment has two components: principal and interest. When the repayment of a loan is suspended, it is actually only the principal that is suspended, with the interest still being required in a timely manner. Moreover, unpaid loan instalments will increase the principal to be paid, and as a result, the amounts of subsequent monthly instalments. Thus, it is important that interest is also suspended.
Will leaseholders also obtain facilitations similar to those applicable to loans?
The proposal of the Polish Bank Association published last week also concerns leasing companies. Banks with leasing companies in their group are likely to take measures to defer payment of lease instalments in way similar to loan deferment.
Will banks be able to maintain continuity?
Yes. Banks are taking steps to secure their operations not only from a purely financial perspective, but are also taking preventive measures to protect their employees in the broadest possible way. This includes reorganising, via actions such as appointing several teams to operate a given unit in case one becomes infected with the coronavirus and is unable to operate.
Safer shopping with contactless payments.
In a situation of increased risk of coronavirus infection, contactless payments are recommended. Unfortunately, the current maximum amount that can be paid without entering a PIN code is PLN 50. In order to meet the needs of consumers, banks are planning to work to increase this limit to PLN 100. Moreover, banks, in cooperation with the Polska Bezgotówkowa (Cashless Poland) Foundation, plan to install tens of thousands of additional terminals enabling contactless payments.
Can we expect banks to react to the predicament of businesses?
Responding to the difficult situation that has affected their clients in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, banks are poised to introduce a streamlined process of obtaining short-term loans to stabilise the financial situation of companies.
In addition, they plan to provide assistance to all companies that were creditworthy at the end of 2019, have been affected by the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak and whose existing financing is due for renewal in the coming months – by renewing their financing for up to 6 months on request.
How do state authorities support businesses in terms of their financial situation?
In order to improve the financial liquidity of companies, the Ministry of Development is proposing to introduce a number of reliefs and instruments, such as facilitating VAT settlements by postponing the introduction of the new Single Control File, facilitating split payments, introducing subsidies for loans and increasing guarantee support under de minimis aid, postponing the deadline for notification of beneficial owners to the Central Register of Beneficial Owners, and facilitating the suspension of business activity.
What other risks are consumers exposed to in relation to coronavirus?
The prevailing fear and panic caused by the spread of coronavirus has become another opportunity for fraudsters to swindle funds from consumer accounts. Clients of several banks operating in Poland have received SMSs informing them of their funds being transferred to the national reserves of the National Bank of Poland, and containing a false link to an account log-in page, being supposedly the only way to recover these funds. In this situation, make sure not to fall victim to bank account fraud or phishing.
Are the funds deposited in banks safe and secured by the Bank Guarantee Fund (BFG)?
As regards deposits in banks, the Bank Guarantee Fund secures the funds of:
- natural persons,
- legal persons,
- school savings funds (SKOs),
- employee assistance and loan funds,
- other entities vested with general legal capacity under a separate act.
As regards deposits in cooperative savings and credit unions (SKOKs), the guarantee covers the funds of:
- natural persons,
- organisational units of the church or a religious association with legal personality,
- trade unions,
- housing communities.
As regards limited liability or joint-stock companies (separate legal personality), if the company has an account in the same bank as a private individual’s account, the company and individual are considered two separate entities – the secured amount is EUR 200 thousand (the limit per entity is EUR 100 thousand). The situation is similar when the company and private individual have accounts in two different banks.
As regards a sole proprietorship:
- in case of private and business accounts being operated in the same bank, the limit per entrepreneur is EUR 100 thousand. In this situation, the private individual and sole proprietorship are considered one entity by the BFG.
- However, if the entrepreneur has a private and business account in two different banks, the secured amount is EUR 200 thousand.
What about a joint account?
As regards a joint account, the limit is EUR 100 thousand per co-owner.
Does the BFG’s refund cover capital together with interest?
The BFG guarantees a refund of the face value together with interest, regardless of the interest due date. The value of the guaranteed refund is increased by interest calculated up to the guarantee fulfillment date at the interest rate specified in the contract.
SKONTAKTUJ SIĘ Z NAMI
Dr Agnieszka Serzysko
Radca prawny, Partner, Szef Sektora Usług Finansowych
T: +48 608 317 176