PKO hopes to return to dividend payments, says new CEO

WARSAW, June 14 (Reuters) - Polish bank PKO BP wants to return to regular dividend payments and will stick to its plan to offer Swiss-franc mortgage holders settlements, its new chief executive told the Parkiet daily in an interview published on Monday.

The country’s largest lender announced the appointment of Jan Emeryk Rosciszewski, formerly a deputy head of the bank, as chief executive last week after the surprise resignation of Zbigniew Jagiello in May.

“We want to return to regular dividend payments. I hope that it will happen next year, it will be dependent on the decision of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF),” Rosciszewski was quoted as saying.

The KNF told banks not to pay dividends in the first half of 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rosciszewski said that PKO BP would stick to its plan to offer Swiss-franc mortgage holders settlements.

The KNF proposed in December that lenders could offer voluntary settlements to their clients, including retrospectively settling Swiss-franc mortgages as zloty loans.

PKO BP, the Polish bank with the largest portfolio of Swiss-franc loans, is the only bank that has so far committed to the plan, with others waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court on the issue before taking a decision. The PKO BP settlement plan is worth 6.7 billion zloty ($1.8 billion).

“The direction of our activities remains unchanged, we want to offer the settlements announced by us earlier... The solution is currently being piloted,” he said.

Rosciszewski also said that in the near future PKO wants to focus more on the development of insurance products.

“Our goal is to make PKO BP a wholesaler of insurance sales - in terms of financial products, health, life and property or motor insurance,” he said.

The new CEO said he currently had no plans for mergers and acquisitions but would explore opportunities as they arose. ($1 = 3.7094 zlotys) (Reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz and Alan Charlish; Editing by Jon Boyle)