Pünder Volhard Weber & Axster
The establishment of banks in Poland is governed by the Act on the Banking Law of August 29 1997, together with the accompanying regulations last updated in January 1999. Banks may be set up in either one of the following forms:
- as a state bank;
- a cooperative bank; or
- as a bank in the form of a joint stock corporation.
A joint stock corporation bank may also be founded by foreign nationals or with the participation of foreign persons. The minimum initial capital of a Polish joint stock corporation is euro5 million and these funds may not be derived from loans or other credit or from undocumented sources.
A proportion of the bank's capital (no more then 15%) may be paid in the form of contributions in kind, such as equipment and real estate — provided such contributions are directly useful for the bank's operations.
In accordance with Polish banking law, the persons establishing a bank and the individuals who are expected to take management positions within the new bank, must be of such competence as to ensure the safety of the bank vis-à-vis its customers. At least two members of the management board must have the level of experience and professional training necessary to manage a banking institution, and each bank must at least have two members of the management board who have been appointed with the permission of the Polish Banking Supervisory Commission.
An application for the incorporation of a bank must include its articles of association, a business plan and a financial plan for the institution covering at least a three-year period. The application must also include documents with regard to the founders and their financial situation. Moreover, if the founder is a foreign bank, confirmation from the banking supervisory authorities in the founder bank's home country is to be included.
The Polish Banking Supervisory Commission will specify the activities in which the new bank may engage as well as the conditions to be met in order for the bank to commence business.
Polish banking law permits the establishment of branches of foreign banks which may operate in Poland. Permits for such branch offices are issued by the Polish Banking Supervisory Commission and branch offices may only engage in those transactions specified in their respective permits.