As of 31st of December 2020, the Bank had 5 018 loan agreements and additionally 496 loan agreements from former Euro Bank (98% loans agreements before the Court of first instance and 2% loans agreements before the court of second instance) under individual ongoing litigations (excluding claims submitted by the bank against clients i.e. debt collection cases) concerning indexation clauses of FX mortgage loans submitted to the courts with the total value of claims filed by the plaintiffs amounting to PLN 562.4 million and CHF 34.3 million (Bank Millennium portfolio: PLN 508.2 million and CHF 33.4 million and former Euro Bank portfolio: PLN 54.1 million and CHF 0.9 million). The outstanding amount of the loan agreements under individual court cases as of 31.12.2020 was PLN 1 794 million.
Until 31.12.2020 only 69 cases were finally resolved (49 in claims submitted by clients against the Bank and 20 in claims submitted by the Bank against clients i.e. debt collection cases).
The claims formulated by the Clients in individual proceedings primarily concern the declaration of invalidity of the contract or payment for reimbursement of allegedly undue performance, due to the abusive nature of indexation clauses. The pushy advertising campaign observed in the public domain affects the number of court disputes.
In addition, the Bank is a party to the group proceedings (class action) subject matter of which is to determine the Bank’s liability towards the group members based on unjust enrichment (undue benefit) ground in connection with the foreign currency mortgage loans concluded. It is not a payment dispute. The judgment in these proceedings will not grant any amounts to the group members. The number of credit agreements covered by these proceedings is 3 281. At the current stage, the composition of the group has been established and confirmed by the court. The proceedings entered the phase of reviewing the case on the merits. On 11 August 2020, the claimant requested granting interim measures to secure the claims against the Bank. In a decision of 18 August 2020, the request for granting interim measures was dismissed. On 26 October 2020, the claimant filed another application for granting interim measures to secure claims against the Bank concerning two group members. By decision of 6 November 2020, the application was rejected. The court’s decision dismissing the request for interim measures with a justification has not yet been served. During the session on 26 of October 2020 the Court conducted a hearing of parties' position and afterwards postponed the session without setting the next term. The outstanding amount of the loan agreements under the class action proceeding was 1 000 million PLN as of 31.12.2020.
The Bank continues to be open to its customers in order to reach amicable solutions on negotiated terms. Bank Millennium undertakes number of actions at different levels towards different stakeholders in order to mitigate legal and litigation risk as regard FX mortgage loans portfolio. The Bank is open to negotiate case by case favourable conditions for early repayment (partial or total) or conversion of loans to PLN. On the other hand, the Bank will continue to take all possible actions to protect its interests in courts while at the same time being open to find settlement with customers in the court under reasonable conditions. The Bank has already reached agreement and settlement with 117 borrowers that participated in the class action.
Based on ZBP (the Polish Banking Association) data gathered from all banks having FX mortgage loans, vast majority of disputes were finally resolved in favour of banks until 2019 year. However, after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment issued on 3 October 2019 (Case C-260/18) the proportion have adversely changed and majority of court cases have been lost by banks.
Taking into consideration the increased legal risk related to FX mortgages, in 2019 Bank Millennium created PLN 223 million provisions while in year 2020 PLN 713 million worth of provisions in total which included PLN 677 million provision for legal risk for Bank Millennium originated portfolio and PLN 36.4 million for ex-Euro Bank originated portfolio. The methodology developed by the Bank is based on the following main parameters: (1) the number of current (including class action) and potential future court cases that will appear within a specified (three-year) time horizon, (2) the amount of the Bank’s potential loss in the event of a specific court judgment (three negative judgment scenarios were taken into account), (3) the probability of obtaining a specific court verdict calculated on the basis of statistics of judgments of the banking sector in Poland and legal opinions obtained. Variation in the level of provisions or concrete losses will depend on the final court decisions about each case and on the number of court cases.
As of 31 December 2020, the balance sheet value of provisions set aside for FX mortgage legal risk for the portfolio originated by Bank Millennium reached PLN 924 million, and PLN 36.4 million for the portfolio originated by ex-Euro Bank. Legal risk from ex-Euro Bank portfolio is fully covered by Indemnity Agreement with Societe Generale.
The Bank analyzed the sensitivity of the methodology for calculating provisions, for which a change in the parameters would affect the value of the estimated loss to the legal risk of litigation:
Impact on loss due to legal risk related to the portfolio of mortgage loans in convertible currencies
Change in the number of lawsuits
Additionally, 1 p.p. of active clients file a lawsuit against the Bank
PLN 33 million
Change in the probability of winning a case
The probability of the Bank winning a case is lower by 1 p.p
PLN 25 million
On 3 October 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (’the CJEU') issued the judgment in Case C-260/18 in connection with the preliminary questions formulated by the District Court of Warsaw in the case against Raiffeisen Bank International AG. The judgment of the CJEU, as regards the interpretation of European Union law made therein, is binding on domestic courts. The judgment in question interpreted Article 6 of Directive 93/13. In the light of the subject matter judgment the said provision must be interpreted in such a way that (i) the national court may invalidate a credit agreement if the removal of unfair terms detected in this agreement would alter the nature of the main subject-matter of the contract; (ii) the effects for the consumer’s situation resulting from the cancellation of the contract must be assessed in the light of the circumstances existing or foreseeable at the time when the dispute arose and the will of the consumer is decisive as to whether he wishes to maintain the contract; (iii ) Article 6 of the Directive precludes the filling-in of gaps in the contract caused by the removal of unfair terms from the contract solely on the basis of national legislation of a general nature or established customs; (iv) Article 6 of the Directive precludes the maintenance of unfair terms in the contract if the consumer has not consented to the maintenance of such terms. It can be noticed the CJEU found doubtful the possibility of a credit agreement being performed further in PLN while keeping interest calculated according to LIBOR.
The CJEU judgment concerns only the situation where the national court has previously found the contract term to be abusive. It is the exclusive competence of the national courts to assess, in the course of judicial proceedings, whether a particular contract term can be regarded as abusive in the circumstances of the case. It can reasonably be assumed that the legal issues relating to foreign currency mortgage loans will be further examined by the national courts within the framework of disputes considered which would possibly result in the emergence of further interpretations, which are relevant for the assessment of the risks associated with subject matter proceedings. This circumstance indicates the need for constant analysis of these matters. Further request for clarification and ruling addressed to the European Court of Justice and Polish Supreme Court have already been filed and may still be filed with potential impact on the outcome of the court cases.
In this context, taking into consideration the recent negative evolution in the court verdicts regarding FX mortgage loans, and if such trend continues, the Bank will have to regularly review and may need to continue to increase the balance of provisions allocated to court litigations.
Invalidity of the Bank Millennium loan agreements currently under individual court and class action cases could have a pre-tax cost up to PLN 2 385 million.