Antitrust & competition law /

PLN 62 million fine for PKO BP and Pekao from UOKiK

On the website, we can read that the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) decided that banks in annexes to mortgage loan agreements do not precisely define the amounts of exchange rates, i.e. that they in fact set them arbitrarily.

PKO BP calculated its rates on the basis of vague terms such as „liquidity of the foreign exchange market”, „exchange rate competitiveness”, „average interbank rate”. Bank Pekao referred to „market rates”. However, these concepts were not specified in regulations or other documents. The interbank rate was supposed to be collected by both banks from Reuters, but the borrowers did not receive information about the website where they could verify the rate.

Moreover, for example, under the annex, PKO BP granted itself the right to change the data source in the event that the exchange rates on the Reuters website are no longer available, and the bank did not indicate on what terms such a change should take place. Both banks also referred consumers to tables that they prepared themselves, without indicating the date of preparation and publication, so consumers were not able to independently estimate the rate at which the bank will convert the installments. This created a risk that banks would impose the most favorable rates on consumers.

The fine imposed on PKO BP was PLN 40,741,440, and the fine imposed on Pekao – PLN 21,088,642. The President of UOKiK dealt with the case on the basis of signals provided to him by consumers. The President of UOKiK has already imposed similar penalties on: Getin Noble Bank (almost PLN 13.5 million), Deutsche Bank Polska (almost PLN 7 million in fines), BNP Paribas (PLN 26.6 million), Bank Millennium (PLN 10.4 million) , Santander Bank Polska (PLN 23.6 million). The Office also conducts proceedings against two other banks: Raiffeisen Bank International AG (previously: Raiffeisen Bank Polska) and BPH.

Author team leader DKP Legal Piotr Glapiński
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