Bankers Must Speak Polish

Speaking Polish?

Speaking Polish?

Several dozen management board members of banks operating in Poland will have to learn Polish quickly. This is the result of a new amendment to banking law, being prepared by the Ministry of Finance. New regulations stipulate that management board members are required to have a “proven knowledge of the Polish language.” According to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, in fourteen of Poland’s major banks which are controlled by foreign capital, every fifth member of the board and more than half of the members of supervisory boards does not speak Polish. At present, the language requirement applies to bank general managers and one member of the board approved by the Financial Supervision Commission (KNF). The new rules will appear in the context of the implementation of the ‘CRD IV’ EU Directive, which was implemented because of the financial crisis. It will improve the safety of bank operations. Wiesława Dróżd, a spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance says that in terms of security such a requirement will ensure: a better flow of information between members of statutory bodies; the proper understanding of Polish law regulating bank activities as well as proper communication with supervisory authorities and other state authorities. Andrzej Leach, President of the Warsaw Institute of Banking believes that the language requirement for members of supervisory boards is too much but within business banking it will be good that people are able to communicate well within the banking system and the market. BZ WBK, the face of which is Kevin Spacey, was asked by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna about its board meetings. BZ WBK bank reported that “most of the 10-member board speaks Polish,” but they did not provide more details. In most cases, all members of boards and those reporting to them speak English fluently. But there is yet hope for foreigners working in banks; the amendment is still a draft and will be subject to further consultation, public debate and assessment.

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