9th European Financial Congress

Sopot, 3-5 June 2019

Honorary Patronage
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Summary of the opening plenary debate “For the centenary: Financial institutions for the economic growth”

Effects of Polish transformations “We have an opportunity to join the most developed countries”
Debate: “For the centenary: Financial institutions for the economic growth”

Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, President of the European Financial Congress’ Program Board, moderator
Brunon Bartkiewicz, President of the Management Board of ING Bank Śląski S.A
Paweł Borys, President of the Management Board of the Polish Development Fund
Marek Dietl, President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange
Przemysław Gdański, President of the Management Board of BGŻ BNP PARIBAS S.A.
Michał Krupiński, President of the Management Board of Bank Pekao S.A.
Sławomir S. Sikora, President of the Management Board of Bank Handlowy S.A.
Cezary Stypułkowski, President of the Management Board of mBank S.A.
Anna Trzecińska, Vice-President of the National Bank of Poland
Poland’s accession to the European Union, dynamic growth of entrepreneurship or the navigation through the global financial crisis by banks without the necessity of resorting to state assistance - such answers were given by the banks’ presidents when asked about Poland’s greatest economic successes in its history.

The inaugural debate of the 8th European Financial Congress was dominated by a question whether the transformation after 1918 was more difficult to the domestic economy than changes that were required after 1989. Which period brought about greater challenges for the authorities and the whole society?

The participants of the debate agreed that both 1918 and 1989 marked the beginning of tremendous economic changes. In both cases Poland had to deal with hyperinflation, the lack of adequate human resources and the shortage of companies capable of carrying the burden of rapid economic growth.

Paweł Borys said that one of basic differences between the said periods was that in the 1920s the financial market’s institutions had to be established first, which later became ground beams of the current financial system in Poland. The Polish Bank exemplifies the above thesis having become a model institution for the later National Bank of Poland.

Anna Trzecińska stated that the development of the framework of the financial system in the 1920s was even a more difficult task as Poles could not count on the support of foreign economists. She stressed that after 1989 the situation was completely different as Poland was provided with professional support, e.g. from the International Monetary Fund.

Both transformations produced excellent results - Poland has now approached the threshold of income and growth which has not been crossed yet. “We have a chance to join the most developed countries but that requires a lot of work”, stressed Paweł Borys.

In the course of the debate the presidents of the financial institutions also pointed to the Polish banking sector’s very difficult situation at the end of 1980s and at the beginning of the 1990s. Banks needed state aid back then. However the next years saw the dynamic development of the banking sector and currently, as Przemysław Gdański recalled, it is recognized as a leader of innovations in Europe. Its stability and security were also proven by the fact that it managed to defend itself against the global financial crisis.

That, however, does not mean that the Polish banking sector is not going to continue to grow. According to Michał Krupiński, currently the challenge lies in the development of the global investment bank. He also added that Bank Pekao S.A. had been carrying out its mission as a bank for Poles living abroad.

The participants of the inaugural debate also attempted to answer questions asked by the audience regarding, among other things, Poland’s joining the Euro zone and the current developments on the real estate market.

Michał Krupiński emphasized that the current geopolitical situation in the world, including competition between the US and China, and Brexit, is not a rationale behind the speeding up of the process of joining the Euro zone.

On the other hand, referring to a question regarding a potential speculation bubble on the real estate market, Brunon Bartkiewicz admitted that the situation resembles the one observed in 2007-2008.

The participants were also requested to name, in their view, Poland’s greatest economic success over the past 100 years. Poland’s accession to the European Union and the growth of entrepreneurship were among the most frequent responses.