2018 was a year of a marked economic revival in the Poland. After the successful year 2017, the GDP growth accelerated from 4.8% to 5.1%, despite an ongoing downturn in Eurozone economies. The internal demand, in particular household expenses, and investments co-financed from EU funds remained the driving force of the Polish economy growth. Solid economic growth and moderate inflation prompted the Monetary Policy Council to maintain the unchanged level of interest rates in 2018, invariably from March 2015. Those factors were reflected in the monetary aggregates. A strong private consumption led to accelerated growth rate of PLN retail housing loans and a continued relatively high growth in other retail loans. A marked rebound in private investment projects made corporate lending gather speed.
Despite the environment of low interest rates, the growth rate of deposits significantly accelerated, especially in the area of households. This was related to the downturn in the capital market and problems in the investment fund market.
In 2018, regulatory changes also took place. At the beginning of 2018, a new financial reporting standard was introduced – IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards and their interpretations approved by the International Accounting Standards Board.International Financial Reporting Standards and their interpretations approved by the International Accounting Standards Board. 9: Financial instruments which replaced IASInternational Accounting Standards; gradually superseded by the IFRS, i.e. International Financial Reporting Standards.International Accounting Standards; gradually superseded by the IFRS, i.e. International Financial Reporting Standards. 39.In 2018, also the Directive No. 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on markets in financial instruments (MIFID II) went into force. In addition, business entities, including banks, also worked very intensively on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No. 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons and on implementation of the VAT split payment mechanism. Since January 2018, the NBP National Bank of Poland – a central bank which acts as the issue bank, the bank of banks and the central state-owned bank.National Bank of Poland – a central bank which acts as the issue bank, the bank of banks and the central state-owned bank. reduced reserve requirement rate, and since March 2018 the reduced reserve requirement rate on funds acquired for at least two years have been in force. The public discussion about CHF-denominated housing loans continued for the fourth year. Still unresolved, although the works of the Sejm committee have accelerated again in early 2019.
The financial sector continues to be affected by changes to ownership. The sector consolidation continued in 2018 and it will most likely also take place in 2019.
Despite volatile economic and regulatory conditions, the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Group consistently delivered on its business strategy, aimed at increasing the scale of operations through welcoming clients and offering convenient and state-of-the art solutions and products, designed to meet expectations of clients in all segments. In 2018, invariably and consistently for over 10 years now, the Group increased its lending and deposit portfolios considerably, while maintaining good quality assets and sustaining solid capital and liquidity positions.
As at 2018 yearend, the Group served 4.86 million clients, or 6% clients more than as at 2017 yearend. In the retail segment, the number of clients rose by 6% to 4.80 million; in the corporate segmentSimply: clients of mid and big companies segments and strategic clients.Simply: clients of mid and big companies segments and strategic clients., by 11% to 62 thousand. As at 2018 yearend, net loans and other receivables from customers amounted to over PLN 103 billion, up by 13% from 2017 yearend. The value of funds deposited by customers grew at a similar pace and totalled nearly PLN 118 billion as at the yearend. In consequence, the Group’s balance sheet total was PLN 142 billion, up by 12% from 2017.
The Group closed the year with a solid capital and liquidity base. The total capital ratio settled at a comfortable level of 15.6%. As the loans grew faster than deposits (loans excluding Eurobonds), the LTD ratio arrived at 87.6% as at the yearend, or went up by 3.9 p.p. from the year earlier.
2018 also proved a record year for the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Group in terms of profitability. Net profit went up by 8.8% y/y to PLN 1,526 million and ROE Net profit/ average equity for 5 consecutive quarters.Net profit/ average equity for 5 consecutive quarters. arrived at 12.5% (12.6% the year earlier).
The BankBank when capitalised means ING Bank Śląski S.A.Bank when capitalised means ING Bank Śląski S.A. Supervisory Board actively assisted the Management Board through close analysis of its actions, and also participated in the making of key decisions. The Supervisory Board monitored market risk, liquidity and capital adequacy management areas with particular care. The Supervisory Board was also involved in the setting of the Group’s priority development directions. The Supervisory Board members were in the composition of the Audit Committee, Risk Committee as well as Remuneration and Nomination Committee.
I do hope that the strategy of the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Group and prudent actions of the Management Board supported by the Supervisory Board will enable the Group to develop further.
Antoni F. Reczek
Chairman of the Supervisory Board