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.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Opinion

Poland banking: Public dis-service

Like many truly bad ideas, state ownership of banks is a concept that refuses to die.

No matter how many times taxpayers end up footing the bill for patronage, cronyism, lack of accountability or sheer incompetence, there will always be politicians prepared to argue – and voters ready to believe – that banks are better in public hands.

In western Europe, high-profile disasters in countries such as Germany and Austria have recently made mainstream politicians wary of advocating public-sector banking, except as a last resort.

Further east, however, the idea is enjoying a renaissance. Since coming to power in late 2015, Poland’s nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS) has embraced it with enthusiasm. 

In its first two years in government, PiS sponsored the acquisition of three banks by state-controlled insurer PZU, including the successful challenger bank Alior and second-place player Bank Pekao. As market leader, PKO BP, was never fully privatized, this means around 30% of banking assets in Poland are now under state control. 

According to PiS politicians, the acquisitions were necessary to reduce levels of foreign ownership in the Polish banking sector. 

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 acces below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

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

£68.33 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, 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

LOGIN NOW

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