Poland’s Minister of Finance and Development, Mateusz Morawiecki, said that the tax imposed on private banks in 2016 was good and will continue, in some form, in 2017. He was speaking in an interview with TV station Polsat. “[The tax] is needed, and in 2016 [it] had a moderate impact on the economy,” he stated. “What has been implemented was very well planned. The impact of [the tax] on the economy was very modest, [but] this tribute is needed. Moreover, it helps finance [the child benefit of] 500-plus, or other social spending and in this context [it] certainly played a very positive role,” he added.
He also spoke about the government’s plan to restructure PLN 42 billion worth of Polish mortgages denominated in Swiss francs. He stated that the bank had accelerated the process for voluntary conversion of the loans from francs to the Polish złoty. “As for loans [in francs], here, as I understand it, the Polish National Bank and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) […] working on specific recommendations, in the wake of the law proposed by the President, have widened the spread […] and are also pushing banks towards voluntary conversion faster, because the process is too slow,” said Morawiecki. The government’s apparent attempt to help Polish homeowners who had their mortgages denominated in francs dates to early 2016, when President Duda proposed that banks make up the difference by converting the loans into złoty at historical exchange rates (from when the loan was incurred). After that proposal proved to be unpopular with both the KNF and the National Bank of Poland, in August the government drafted a law stating that banks were obligated to pay the owners the difference resulting from the appreciation of the franc and depreciation of the złoty.