The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Idea Bank takeover by Pekao raises spectre of state expansion

The saga of Poland’s Idea Bank has finally been resolved with a forced takeover by number two player Pekao. But questions remain over the role of the state.

UniCredit's Polish unit Bank Pekao logo is seen on their branch in Warsaw

The takeover of troubled Polish lender Idea Bank by larger rival Bank Pekao has eased fears of a costly bank failure in the country, but has also raised concerns about the expansion of political influence in the sector.

State-controlled Bank Pekao, Poland’s second-largest lender, announced on New Year’s Eve that it would take control of Idea Bank, a small and medium-sized enterprise-focused lender owned by local businessman Leszek Czarnecki.

The announcement was no surprise to markets. Idea Bank’s capital levels were well below minimum requirements and the lender had been under the supervision of the country’s Bank Guarantee Fund (BGF) since May 2019.

“Pekao was seen as a natural buyer given its state ownership and capital position,” analysts at UBS note.

Set up in 2010, Idea Bank’s business model was based on providing credit to micro and small business customers based on their transaction history, which was to be derived from the accounting services that the bank offered in tandem.


While the offer of ancillary accounting services proved popular and was rapidly copied by larger Polish lenders such as ING Bank Slaski and mBank, a persistently high cost of risk meant that Idea Bank was unable to make a profit on its loan book.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree