Polish banks under pressure as GetBack scandal casts long shadow
Six months after Polish debt collector GetBack went into default, shockwaves from the event continue to shake the country’s financial sector.
Warsaw Stock Exchange
GetBack, which completed an IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in July 2017, has been at the centre of a widening scandal since missing payments on its debt in mid-April.
Multiple members of the firm’s senior management, including former CEO Konrad Kakolewski, have been arrested on charges including fraud, mismanagement and destroying evidence.
Other members of the Warsaw financial community have also been caught up in the affair.
Several asset managers are facing scrutiny over investments in distressed debt funds managed by GetBack, while two former board members of WSE-listed fund manager Altus were detained in early September on charges relating to the sale of debt collector EGB Investments to GetBack in May 2017.
The turmoil has also been felt in the Polish banking sector, where locals fear it could prove crippling for two troubled lenders controlled by local tycoon Leszek Czarnecki.
Getin Noble Bank, the larger of the two, has been loss-making since late 2016 after an ill-advised attempt to build market share in the wake of the financial crisis by handing out risky mortgages, which resulted in ballooning bad debts.