President signs act on assistance for mortgage borrowers
President Andrzej Duda signed on Thursday the act on support for borrowers, which includes 'mortgage holidays' and the extension of anti-inflation shields until October 31.
The new legislation gives people who have mortgages denominated in PLN the opportunity to postpone repayments for a total of 8 months: 2 months in the third and fourth quarter of this year and 1 month in each of the four quarters of the next year. The loan period will be extended by the number of months when the loan repayment suspension was used.
During the signing ceremony Duda said that "it was not an easy law", because in difficult times it was necessary to take decisions regarding the financial market and the functioning of banks in the context of the functioning of households.
"It is primarily about helping borrowers, it is about all those who bought flats, built houses, took mortgages and have found themselves in a difficult situation in the face of rising interest rates and high inflation," he added.
President of the Polish Bank Association (ZBP) Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz assessed that mortgage holidays will have to be co-financed or financed by other bank customers who will then receive low interest rates on deposits. In his opinion, the act is unfair because it promotes the most affluent borrowers at the expense of, among others, depositors, because they will receive "a slightly lower interest rate on their deposits with lower interest rates".
According to ZBP, the mortgage holidays may cost the banking sector up to PLN 30 billion (EUR 6.6 billion) and add fuel to Poland's record-high inflation.
The new regulations also include provisions extending the operation of anti-inflation shields from July 31 to October 31 this year. The shield, which introduced a number of VAT cuts, was first brought in at the end of 2021 to combat rising inflation.
Prices of consumer goods and services (Consumer Price Index, CPI) increased by 15.6 percent year on year and by 1.5 percent month on month in June 2022, the Central Statistical Office (GUS) reported in a flash estimate on July 1.
The act will enter into force 14 days after its announcement. The provisions on anti-inflation shields will come into force on July 31 this year.