Consumer protection: suspend loan repayments up to a year

The Office for Consumer Protection of Competition (UOKiK) has called for the suspension of loans and mortgages for up to a year as part of the government crisis package, rather than the three or six-month breaks from capital repayments banks tabled after President Andrzej Duda’s initial proposals.

The proposals are understood to have been met with reserve by the Financial Supervisory Authority (KNF) chief Jacek Jastrzębski, who said that the proposals “were treated very much as a draft and were rightly being considered by other institutions, including the KNF.”

Analysts point out that rather than banks, the institutions which could come a cropper as a result of a wide take up of repayment breaks would be firms specialising in unsecured personal loans. These loans are typically taken out for the purchase of consumer items or as “payday” loans.

The total value of household borrowing measured as of January 2020 was PLN 634 bn (EUR 140 bn), of which PLN 454 bn (EUR 100 bn) was in household mortgages. The total of mortgage lending has risen 70 percent since December 2010.

The crisis protection package legislation is being rushed through, with several changes having been added at the weekend after a press conference by Andrzej Duda. Thursday or Friday are the latest estimates as to when it would be ready, Jacek Sasin, the State Assets Minister told Polish radio on Monday.

Following global trends, the Warsaw Stock Exchange main indices opened with 4 percent losses in the first couple of hours of trading, while the zloty was also down against major currencies. Analysts suggest that market trends are very much dependent on the numbers of new cases of coronavirus worldwide and investors are erring on the side of caution.