BGK supports development and focuses on cooperation in the financial sector

Luc Williams

– The Polish banking sector is very strong, resilient, developed and doing well – said Elisabetta Falcetti, regional director for Poland and the Baltic States of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, opening the discussion.

Positives dominated the beginning of the panel, Przemysław Gdański, president of BNP Paribas Bank Polska, mentioned people among the advantages of the sector.

– Banking has gathered great staff, we have invested in training and development – ​​Polish bankers have almost become an export commodity. Thanks to the staff, Polish banks are doing well, he pointed out.

However, he pointed out that the picture is not so rosy. It is common to talk about the high profits that banks achieve.

– The truth is that if we look at the return on capital achieved by the Polish banking sector, we took 17th place in the European Union (in 2023 – ed.), and among the countries of our region we managed to overtake only Slovakia. The banking sector has been shrinking for years in terms of the share of sector assets in GDP; we are at the bottom in Europe. We are having a good year, last year was also relatively good in terms of results, the previous few years were very bad.

– The rate of return on capital is 11%, its cost – 12.5%. As we calculated, in order to support investments in the Polish economy, it is necessary to ensure loan growth at the level of PLN 220-230 billion per year, which translates into the need to increase equity capital annually at the level of PLN 40-45 billion, said Tadeusz Białek, president of the Polish Bank Association.

Among the necessary actions, he pointed to a change in the banking tax base; the president of the Polish Bank Association found the tax based on assets to be “destructive”.

The discussion included the topic of support for economies by development banks.

– If we compare ourselves to French, German or Italian banks, BGK's assets in relation to GDP are the lowest, reaching 6.9%. GDP. The French bank has 39 percent. But this also results from the environment in which we operate and what the assets of the banking sector look like. It's not about demonizing these differences and saying that we are too small. But it shows what the banking sector is like in Poland. And this is also a challenge, said Marta Postuła, first vice-president of the management board of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.

She added that if we look not only at Europe, but also at the world, development banks are playing an increasingly important role due to contemporary challenges.

– BGK has a certain missionary character, we are celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, so we have some historical resources. Currently, for example, 25 percent loans granted to small and medium-sized enterprises are guaranteed by BGK. We operate using various instruments, ranging from large investments, which, for example, can be financed from KPO funds, which we intend to use effectively, through entering into various types of consortiums, said the vice-president of BGK.

She added that this also includes international cooperation, which is important, for example, in the context of diversifying the sources of financing the energy transformation.

– We have a development fund created with a French, Italian, Spanish or German bank. We have the Marguerite Fund, which, for example, financed a large waste incineration plant in Poznań as part of a public-private partnership. We are looking for various solutions and I believe that this is how we should act, through cooperation between BGK – a development bank that carries out some of the tasks commissioned by the state – and other institutions. In this way, money is transformed into the banking sector, said Marta Postuła.

She also drew attention to the important challenge of the low investment rate.

– We have 17.8 percent, the average in the EU is 22.2 percent. And this is undoubtedly a challenge for the government, as well as for the development bank, which is BGK, to return to the good results of 23.6 from many years earlier, within the framework of existing standards and activities, she concluded.

As the discussion showed, energy transition and defense are special areas when it comes to securing financing.

– The energy transformation is a challenge, but it also opens up new opportunities. The cooperation of all market participants who will finance the transformation is necessary, said Marta Postuła.

In this context, she mentioned European funds, including KPO.

– BGK is in negotiations with ministries regarding the possibility of launching loan instruments worth EUR 32.5 billion, a significant part of which can be allocated to the energy transformation, almost EUR 17 billion, of which EUR 4.8 billion for wind farms – informed Marta Postuła.

When it comes to defense, BGK manages the Armed Forces Support Fund.

– Safety is the primary goal. Together with the entity that entrusted us with this task, we are trying to meet the challenge of obtaining financing in the most effective, efficient, fast and cheapest way – because let us not forget that we have many needs – said the vice-president of BGK.

She emphasized that the involvement of all financial institutions is also needed here.

– If a few years ago we were talking about financing activities related to the broadly understood armed forces or defense, most institutions would not have entered into it for ethical reasons. Now we all feel the seriousness of the situation and policies in this area are being changed. We observe this in projects, we receive more and more offers for financing. There is a change in the approach of, for example, the European Investment Bank, which until recently did not want to discuss the financing of military expenditure. Now solutions are being sought at the EU forum, said the first vice-president of BGK.

photo: press materials


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