On 10 November 2022, President Andrzej Duda signed into law the Anti-usury Act of 6 October 2022, changing the law to combat the operations of loan sharks[1]. The act provides for a range of new requirements for firms providing consumer loans to ensure greater protection for consumers. The work on the Anti-usury Act was commenced at the initiative of the government, and the legislation goes beyond implementing the Consumer Credit (CCD) Directive.

The enactment of the Anti-usury Act also means amendment to the Civil Code, Consumer Credit Act, and other laws. In particular, the changes affect borrower creditworthiness assessment rules and limits on consumer credit and loan costs other than interest. There will also be additional disclosure obligations of lenders towards borrowers, and changes to the consequences of loan prepayment.

The changes mean that lending institutions specified in the Consumer Credit Act can only operate as joint-stock or limited liability companies (spółka akcyjna, spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością) in which there is a supervisory board. There will be a minimum share capital requirement for lending institutions of PLN 1 000 000. A particularly important development is oversight of lending institutions by the Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), in the same way as other financial institutions operating in Poland. Under the new rules, lending institutions will have a range of notification obligations towards the regulator. There will also be criminal sanctions for persons responsible for submitting information on behalf of a lending institution to the KNF, due to this KNF oversight.

Foreign institutions described in the Consumer Credit Act, such as those with their seats in a different EU member state, can conduct consumer lending activities in Poland provided that they fulfill lending institution requirements laid down in the act and submit the relevant notification to the KNF.

The provisions in the Anti-usury Act will come into effect on various dates, which are 18 December 2022, 18 May 2023, and 1 January 2024.

[1] Journal of Laws of 17 November 2022, item 2339