Polish bank profits stable in 2014 despite low rates:regulator

WARSAW, April 2 Wed Apr 2, 2014 7:57am EDT

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WARSAW, April 2 (Reuters) - Polish banks will earn at least as much in net profit in 2014 as they did last year, with accelerating economic growth helping them increase lending, the Polish financial regulator KNF was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Last year the combined net profit of Polish banks fell 0.3 percent to 15.4 billion zlotys ($5.08 billion) because of their lower appetite for riskier lending and one-off gains on the bond market.

In an effort to support sluggish economic growth, Poland's central bank cut its main interest rate to 2.5 percent last year, which also harmed banks' profits.

"With financial plans that the banks gave us it, it looks like their (2014) results will not be worse than last year and perhaps they may improve," KNF Vice-Chairman Wojciech Kwasniak was quoted as saying by private news agency ISB.

He also said that banks expect double digit growth of lending to corporates and single digit growth of lending to households. Poland's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to accelerate this year to above three percent from 1.6 percent in 2013. ($1 = 3.0290 Polish Zlotys) (Reporting by Jakub Iglewski; Writing by Marcin Goclowski)

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