PKO bank celebrates centenary

One hundred years ago, on February 7 1919, a decree signed by Poland's inter-war strongman Józef Piłsudski founded the Postal Savings Bank, best known today under its abbreviated name PKO.

The new agency was entrusted with the task of building a savings system in Poland, which had just regained its independence after 123 years under partition by Germany, Russia and Austria.

The founding decree was also signed by Poland's then prime minister, the world-renowned piano virtuoso Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and the minister for postal affairs and the telegraph, Hubert Linde. In the ensuing years, PKO was involved in inter-war Poland's key investment projects, among others the construction of Gdynia and its seaport on the northern coast, or the Central Industrial Basin in the southern Silesia coal region.

After one decade, PKO was the biggest savings bank in Poland. During World War Two it continued under German management, resuming its regular operations in 1945. On November 1, 1987 the bank was renamed the General Savings Bank - State Bank (PKO BP). Since April 2000 PKO BP is a one-man company under the State Treasury.