UPDATE 1-Polish regulator gives Raiffeisen more time to offload local bank

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WARSAW, May 24 (Reuters) - Poland’s financial regulator KNF said on Tuesday it has given Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank until the end of 2016 to sell its Polish unit and if it can’t find a buyer it must list a stake next year.

When Raiffeisen bought the bank, Raiffeisen Polbank IPO-RBP.WA, in 2012 it agreed with the regulator to list at least a 15 percent stake by the end of June 2016 in an initial public offering. Since then it decided to sell the bank because it needed the money.

KNF said in a statement that it had agreed that the bank could be sold this year to a Warsaw-listed bank, on condition that Raiffeisen keeps the unit’s Swiss franc-denominated loan portfolio. Or if it fails to find a buyer it must list the bank, Poland’s No.10 lender by assets, on the stock exchange by the end of June 2017.

Poland’s government wants to force banks to convert their Swiss franc-denominated mortgages into zlotys at a collective cost of up to 60 billion zlotys ($15 billion).

Raiffeisen Polbank has one of the biggest Swiss-franc loans portfolios among the Polish lenders, which, together with a banking tax, have hurt Raiffeisen’s plans to sell the Polish unit.

However, Poland’s fastest-growing lender Alior Bank has said that it planned to take part in market consolidation and was eyeing Polbank. (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Adrian Krajewski and Susan Fenton)