Banking: today and tomorrow | An overview of the banking sector | March 2023

1 March 2023 | Banking today and tomorrow, Knowledge, News

S&P assessed legal risks affecting bank profitability

 The S&P ratings agency said that although banks benefit from the resilience of the Polish economy, despite continued high core inflation and declines in real wages, legal risks will continue to weigh on the sector’s profitability.

“We expect banking sector cost of risk to increase to about 80-90 bps this year, especially driven by weakening asset quality in consumer and small and midsize enterprise loans. However, a resilient labor market should prevent any significant increase in credit losses from residential real estate and the housing market in general is likely to avoid a sudden material correction”.


Mortgage market collapse. Last year, their number fell by half

The collapse in the mortgage market deepened throughout last year, although the last quarter brought signs of stabilisation, according to AMRON analytical organisation monitoring the market. In 2022, banks granted just over 126,000 new mortgage loans, more than 50% less than in the record year of 2021.


Safe 2% Mortgage Loan (‘Bezpieczny kredyt 2 proc.’)  is getting closer. How will banks calculate creditworthiness?

The ‘Safe 2% Mortgage Loan’ scheme is set to launch mid-year.

For potential borrowers, the key issue will not only be to meet the prerequisites, but also to possess sufficient creditworthiness. However, banks are very likely to take a liberal approach.

In recent days, the bill implementing the First Home (‘Pierwsze mieszkanie’) programme was approved by the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers.

A new mortgage subsidy scheme promoted with the slogan ‘Safe 2% Mortgage Loan’ is part of the programme. The scheme involves subsidising the repayment of instalments over 10 years. The support is to consist in the repayment of part of the interest charged by the bank so that the instalment to be paid by the borrower will be similar as in the case of a mortgage loan with a 2% interest rate.


Forget the sudden drop in instalments. This is how WIRON will be implemented in existing agreements

Borrowers with a PLN variable-rate mortgage loan will most likely not need to take any action for their existing WIBOR benchmark to be replaced by the new WIRON in their agreements.

This will be made possible by an ordinance of the Minister of Finance, which is to change this key benchmark. For agreements with a special contingency clause, the provisions of this clause will prevail. Clients repaying PLN mortgages should not expect their interest rates to fall now that WIRON is lower than WIBOR. In fact, immediately after the benchmark replacement, the interest rate will not change due to spread adjustment.


First WIRON-based bond issue in the second half of the year?

We would like to carry out the first issue of bonds based on the new WIRON benchmark later this year. At the moment, reconciliation work is underway, as the issue is not only about the issuer itself, i.e. the Minister of Finance, but also about purchasers. Through a working group, we are in constant contact with potential stakeholders in the process, consisting mainly of dealers of treasury securities from the Polish and foreign banking sector,” Piotr Patkowski, Deputy Minister of Finance, told PAP.


Comments of the Polish Bank Association to the Opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-520/21

 The Advocate General finds that Directive 93/13 does not regulate the settlements between the parties to an agreement for a loan indexed to a foreign currency, to be made after the annulment of such agreement. Therefore, the question of whether the consumer can claim reimbursement from the bank for cost of using the instalments paid must be answered by national law. If national law permits such a claim by consumers, the Directive will be no obstacle.


Politics and the Monetary Policy Council

The voting results of the Monetary Policy Council, released a week ago, show that the dovish members have a significant advantage in the MPC.

In September, they voted to raise the benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage points, i.e. to 6.75 %, and to raise the other rates in parallel, but in subsequent months rejected requests for further rate increases.


Banks are lowering interest rates on deposits. The positive trend has reversed

 In February, seven banks reduced the interest rates on their deposits, while those that did not, left the rates at the previous level, according to an analysis by HRE Investments. This is the second month in a row that banks have cut interest rates. Previously, interest rates on deposits had been going up sharply for more than a year.


Bank from an EU country handles half of Russia’s foreign transactions

 An Austrian bank is earning huge amounts of money from Russian transactions, presumably including services for the Russian war operations. It does so out of greed for profit. The bank’s Russian subsidiary provided 68% of the profit of the entire group. An investigation into Raiffeisen Bank’s activities in Russia has been launched by the White House.

Source: Rzeczpospolita

 The challenges of DeFi services in the context of EU regulation

The cryptocurrency market is primarily speculative and its role for the real economy is minimal. This notwithstanding, this market is witnessing the development of interesting technological solutions for the provision of quasi-financial services.


VAS, phygital payments, megasearch, hyperUX, invisible payments… Sounds scary? This is what banks want to treat us to in 2023 and beyond. Should we rejoice or panic?

VAS, hyper-UX, phygital payments… – you don’t need to know these words, but it’s worth familiarising yourself with the concepts behind them. Bank branches stand steady, call centres work as usual, salespeople sell as they did before, but a lot is happening in banking mobile apps. New features, more and more options, biometrics pushing, new levels of security. But do we need all this?


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See also

Banking today and tomorrow | An overview of the banking sector | February 2023

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