Poland’s Glapinski Gains Clout as Ex-Assistant Becomes Regulator

  • Former MPC member Chrzanowski to run Poland’s bank watchdog
  • Appointment comes one week before lawmakers debate Swiss loans

Adam Glapinski just racked up his second big political victory since becoming governor of the National Bank of Poland in June.

His former assistant, Marek Chrzanowski, was chosen by Prime Minister Beata Szydlo to head the country’s financial regulator, the government’s spokesman said on Monday. The appointment comes a week before parliament starts debating a draft law to force banks to compensate clients with non-zloty loans for “unfair” currency exchange rates.

In July, Glapinski, won his first major battle as central bank chief by wresting control from politicians on the main issue facing the country’s lenders -- how to safely unwind their $36 billion foreign-currency loan portfolio. The governor, a long-time ally of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law & Justice party, has said that maintaining financial stability will become the top issue and should be in the hands of the central bank.

“Glapinski, who is Chrzanowski’s mentor, is in favor of re-subordinating banking supervision to the central bank,” analysts at Bank Millennium SA, led by Grzegorz Maliszewski, said in an e-mailed note. “Glapinski may have a big impact on the watchdog.”

Last month, Chrzanowski, 35, resigned from the central bank’s Monetary Policy Council, citing “personal reasons.” The upper house of parliament will appoint his replacement to the 10-member panel, which is headed by Glapinski. The two economists worked together at the Warsaw School of Economics and cooperated closely when Chrzanowski was in the MPC.

Same Message

“The change may allow for a more consistent approach to the Swiss-franc mortgage issue,” Dariusz Gorski, an analyst at Bank Zachodni WBK SA, said by phone. “The same message from the central bank and financial regulator may help mitigate risk and fix the problem without exposing lenders to unnecessary turbulence.”

The outgoing head of Poland’s financial regulator, Andrzej Jakubiak, whose five-year term ends on Oct. 12, had offered his own proposals to help those who borrowed in foreign currencies, mostly Swiss francs, only to see their monthly payments jump as the zloty weakened. The issue of how to help the 565,000 Poles with non-zloty mortgages became an issue before last year’s presidential and general elections, both won by Law & Justice.

— With assistance by Dorota Bartyzel

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