Management area

Annual Report

Business model

Market position of the bank and of the bank's Group

The Group is a leading financial institution in Central and Eastern Europe. The bank, the parent entity of the Group, is the largest commercial bank in Poland in terms of the asset value and equity, the value of loans and deposits, the distribution network’s size, as well as the number of customers and employees.

PKO Bank Polski was the only Polish company on the FTSE Russell index of large companies in developed markets, and the results of the European stress tests confirmed that PKO Bank Polski is one of the safest banks in Europe.

At the end of 2019, the bank was the largest company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) and its value during the last session exceeded PLN 43 billion.

In 2019, the bank took a number of actions aimed at improving the quality of non-financial reporting, which resulted in an improvement in ESG ratings.

  • In August 2019, FTSE Russell increased the rating from 1.6 to 3.3 on a 1 to 5 (the highest score) scale,
  • In August 2019, Sustainalytics decreased the ESG risk assessment from 32.9 to 24.0 (on a 0 to 100 scale), which indicates a drop from high to medium,
  • In September 2019, MSCI increased the rating from BB to BBB.

The ESG Sustainalytics rating is one of the adjustments used in the WIG-ESG index launched on 3 September 2019. The bank’s participation in the index is at the highest level possible at 10%.

PLN 43 billion
Market value of PKO Bank Polski at the end of 2019
PLN 348
Group's assets at the end of 2019
Loans market share of PKO Bank Polski and PKO Bank Hipoteczny at the end of 2019
Number of branches and agencies at the end of 2019
10.9 mln
Bank's customers
27.7 thous.
Employees in the Group

Business segments

The Group conducts its business activities in the retail segment, and in the corporate and investment segment.

PLN 179
Amounts due from customers in the retail segment
PLN 263
Savings in the retail segment
PLN 74
Amounts due from customers in the corporate and investment segment
PLN 50
Deposits in the corporate and investment segment

PKO Bank Polski identifies long-term challenges for the banking sector which affect the operating directions of the bank and the bank’s Group.

The bank’s sustainable development is supported by the following activities:

Entities* belonging to the bank’s Group apply the principles of social responsibility in the supply chain by managing relations with non-related entities in the following manner:

  • they abide by the principles of fair competition,
  • they regularly settle their liabilities, thus ensuring liquidity in the supply chain,
  • as part of the procurement policy, at the stage of the letter of inquiry they oblige the suppliers to follow the principles of social and environmental responsibility,
  • they support diversity in the policy of employment and cooperation with non-related entities.

In the process of implementing Strategy 2016-2020, the bank’s Management Board monitored a number of key performance indicators (KPI).

The list of selected non-financial KPI by area (innovations, employment, environment) monitored as part of the Strategy 2016-2020 is presented below.

KPI Definition Unit 2019 2018 2017
Share of active individual digital Customers Percentage of Customers who logged in to remote channels within a specified time % 52.4 49.8 46.5
Sales in remote channels Share of sales in remote channels (MSP) % 14.0 20.4 15.1
Electronization of products Range of CMGT products (cash management products) not supported comprehensively in electronic channels pcs. 4 4 9
Increase in the transaction rate of iPKO biznes Share of the number of transfers made by corporate Customers through iPKO biznes in the total number of transfers made through electronic banking systems % 96 98 96
Number of innovations implemented Number of innovative solutions implemented for use by business projects psc. 10 6 2
Number of employees in the network branches Number of employees in branches FTEs 12 820 13 525 13 981
Level of commitment of the employees Level of commitment on a scale of 0-100 pt. 70.6 b.d. 64
Fluctuation index Percentage of workers who left the Bank during the year under review (all types of initiatives for leaving) % 14.1 15.7 15.7
Employee resignations Fluctuation index taking into account employee resignations, excluding retirement or disability pension % 7.8 8.6 7.7
Average time for recruiting an employee Time measured from the moment of the employer’s formal requirement of the employee to the moment of acceptance of the proposed terms of employment days 42.1 34.8 30.8
Sick leave index Percentage of working days in which employees were on sick leave % 6.2 6.1 6.5
Optimizing of printing costs Scale of the decline in the cost of printouts in the period % 7.1 5.9 4.7
Reducing the number of paper documents Reducing the number of paper documents in optimized processes % b.d. 8.0 b.d.


In connection with the announcement at the end of 2019 of the updated strategy “PKO Bank of the Future. We support the development of Poland and the Poles” for 2020-2022, the bank is preparing new non-financial key performance indicators.

Corporate governance

Management structure

  • [GRI 102-18]

The management structure at PKO Bank Polski and entities of the Group is based on standard, market principles of management. The bank’s organizational structure is divided into nine areas, which reflect the bank’s areas of operations.


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Management of social and environmental issues of the bank and the bank’s Group is dispersed over different organizational units; activities in this respect at the bank are performed by the substantively competent organizational units in all nine business areas.

A new organizational unit was set up in the Finance Area in 2019 – the Group Integrated Reporting Office, whose tasks include collecting, analysing and disclosing information on social and environmental topics. This means that the environmental and social issues gained recognition in the management structure of the bank.

  • [102-43]
  • [102-44]

In accordance with § 1 of the Articles of Association, the bank conducts operations in compliance with the applicable laws and the bank’s Articles of Association in accordance with market standards adopted by the bank, with due regard to its national character.

In accordance with the bank’s Articles of Association, all shares of the bank carry the same rights and obligations. No shares are preference shares, in particular with respect to voting rights or dividend. The Articles of Association restrict the voting rights of shareholders holding more than 10% of the total number of votes at the General Shareholders’ Meeting (§ 10 of the Articles of Association). This restriction does not apply to the State Treasury and the shareholders acting jointly with the State Treasury (§ 10 section 6 of the Articles of Association).

In accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association of the bank relating to the powers of the bank’s authorities and the principles of management of fixed assets, some of the bank’s operations are subject to special control by the Supervisory Board. Accordingly, the Supervisory Board’s approval is required e.g. for signing agreements for legal, marketing, public relations and social communication or management consulting services on behalf of the bank if the fees for such services exceed a certain amount or if the maximum fee is not specified (§ 15 section 1.11 of the Articles of Association).

The Articles of Association of entities belonging to the bank’s Group are based on the relevant generally applicable laws. The Articles of Association of direct subsidiaries are standardized in accordance with the bank’s recommendations taking into account the specific nature of the operations of a given entity.

PKO Bank Polski operates an internal control system that covers all operations of the bank and is adapted to the scale and nature of these operations and to the regulatory and social environment in which the bank operates.

The internal control system comprises:

  • control function;
  • compliance unit;
  • internal audit unit.

The control function ensures compliance with control mechanisms and covers all organizational units of the bank and the functions therein responsible for performing those tasks.

The compliance unit is an organizationally separate, independent unit playing a key role in ensuring compliance and the managing of compliance risk defined as a risk of suffering legal sanctions incurring financial losses or loss of reputation as a result of incompliance with the provisions of the law and the market standards adopted by the bank.

Internal audit is an independent and objective assurance and advisory function which performs systematic and organized assessments of the individual areas of the bank’s operations and suggests what steps should be undertaken to increase the quality and effectiveness of its operations.

Information on irregularities revealed, results of risk assessments and the adequacy and effectiveness of control mechanisms, as well as other significant issues identified by the individual components of the internal control system are presented in periodic reports addressed to the bank’s Management Board, the Supervisory Board and the Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board.

Other entities belonging to the bank’s Group have internal control systems adapted to the specific nature of their operations. These entities set and implement internal regulations after obtaining an opinion of the bank and especially taking into account the bank’s recommendations and the provisions of the law.

The entities of the bank’s Group are subordinated to standard audit procedures. In addition, together with the bank, they adopted other, higher standards of corporate governance.

The bank builds relationships with the market on the basis of mutual trust, transparency and equal treatment of shareholders. Therefore, the bank accepted Good Practices of WSE Listed Companies 2016 (apart from the principle of holding electronic general meetings because of the technical and legal risk). In implementing the principles, it aimed to satisfy the recommendations and principles set out in the table of good practices as far as possible with regard to relationships and communication with shareholders and investors, general meetings, Management Board and Supervisory Board meetings, as well as conflicts of interest and salaries. The bank regularly monitors the scope of compliance with the principles and reports on (incidental) breaches. In accordance with the internal regulations of the bank, the organizational units of the bank’s headquarters are required to monitor and inform the designated organizational section of a threat of non-compliance with or a breach of a principle included in the “Code of Best Practice for WSE Listed Companies 2016” at a time that allows the publication of a possible report on this matter. In accordance with the bank’s internal regulations, the bank has a system of regular monitoring and annual reviews of compliance with the recommendations and principles resulting from the “Code of Best Practice for WSE Listed Companies 2016”.

In the past three years, the bank has not violated any of the principles set out in the “Code of Best Practice for WSE Listed Companies 2016”.

Furthermore, the bank and other companies from the bank’s Group which are subject to the supervision of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA) adopted the “Principles of corporate governance for supervised institutions” (with a few exceptions), issued by this supervisory authority. Some entities from the bank’s Group adopted higher standards in their operations by adopting the relevant industry codes or codes of ethics.

The bank presents the results of the assessment of the application of the principles at the Annual General Shareholders’ Meetings.

In order to maintain correct relations with all shareholders, the bank, whose shareholding is largely dispersed, has adopted an information policy. According to its provisions, the bank’s overriding aim regarding the performance of information activities is to guarantee high standards of communication with the participants of the capital market, which are a sign of respect for the principles of universal and equal access to information. Within the context of its information policy, the bank takes into account the interests of all investors, provided that they are not in conflict with the bank’s interests, while the objective of the information policy is to define the mechanisms of communication with the participants of the capital market to ensure appropriate, fair and complete access to information about the bank for all investors, without any preferences (more information on shareholder relations can be found in Chapter 10.1.5).

[GRI 102-43] Due to the ownership structure of the Group, which consists of 13 direct subsidiaries (fully controlled by the bank), the companies report to the bank acting as their parent entity (within the scope of the legal regulations).

[GRI 102-44] In 2019, both domestic and foreign investors showed rather limited interest in social and environmental issues. It should be noted, though, that the investors asked questions about the environment more frequently than in 2018. Investors were interested, among other things, in the bank’s approach to financing high emission industries and the mining sector. During their meetings with the bank, representatives of investment funds managing significant (for a given market) funds informed that they had funds investing in companies that satisfy ESG standards or intended to form such funds in the near future. Such investors pointed out that in the analysis and selection of companies to be included in their portfolio they used ESG assessments prepared by external firms and prepared their own tools for making such assessments.

The conversations of the representatives of the bank with investors suggest that the importance of environmental, social and corporate governance issues for the investment process will grow in the future.

Ethics management

  • [102-16]

[GRI 102-16] The main document governing the issue of ethics at PKO Bank Polski is the bank’s Code of Ethics. Apart from it, the bank also applies “The Code of Banking Ethics (Principles of Good Banking Practice)” by the Polish Bank Association. The bank’s Code of Ethics supports the binding organizational culture of the bank. It is also a tool supporting the popularization and implementation of the bank’s values, such as reliability, customer satisfaction, entrepreneurship and continuous improvement. These values should be followed by all employees of the bank, regardless of their position or function.

The bank strongly promotes ethics among its employees. For this purpose, two large campaigns were carried out in 2019. The first one was carried out in January and it was related to a change of the regulations in the area of ethics. The second one was carried out in October in connection with the election of Ambassadors of Ethics.

The Ambassadors of Ethics are a new function at the bank. They are elected in a general election by all employees of the bank from among the candidates who enjoy positive opinions and respect in and outside the banking profession. The first election of Ambassadors of Ethics, which was conducted in October 2019, was organized in line with the bank’s division into retail regions. In the first election 12 Ambassadors of Ethics were elected for a two-year term, which started on 25 October. The role of the Ambassadors of Ethics involves supporting persons who report violations of their rights in the area of ethics, such as mobbing or discrimination, and supporting the employer in creating solutions that strengthen the values, principles, norms of conduct and attitudes referred to in the bank’s Code of Ethics. Details of actions aimed at promoting ethics are agreed with the Ambassadors of Ethics.

The bank’s Code of Ethics covers four areas:

  • the bank’s relations with customers,
  • relations between the bank’s employees,
  • the bank’s approach to cooperation with Business Partners,
  • the bank’s activities outside the business area.

The bank’s Code of Ethics and the bank’s Employment Regulations contain provisions, among other things, regarding the prevention of discrimination by gender, age, disability, religion and creed, race, ethnic origin, nationality, political convictions, union membership, sexual orientation, employment for a definite or indefinite term and full-time or part-time employment.

In addition to these issues, the bank’s Code of Ethics and the bank’s Employment Regulations address such issues as not using confidential information for private purpose, not taking steps that would be in conflict with their employment duties, the prohibition to conduct lobbying activities and the prevention of corrupt practices. Each employee is obliged to comply with the bank’s Code of Ethics and participate in the development and promotion of the organization’s culture and the related values. A module devoted to ethics is part of the induction training for new employees.

The employees’ doubts concerning ethics are resolved as they are raised. In order to counteract breaches of the principles of ethics, the bank applies separate internal regulations: The principles of counteracting mobbing and discrimination and the procedure for handling complaints concerning violation of employee rights. Moreover, the bank analyses each case in terms of non-compliance and violations related to conflicts of interests. The employees report such cases to specially designated email addresses. In addition to promoting values among employees, the bank also monitors employee complaints for potential violations of standards of ethics. Unethical behaviour may be subject to sanctions.

In the bank’s Group:

  • some subsidiaries use a formal set of standards and principles of ethical conduct in the form of the code of ethics as part of their ethics management policy,
  • some subsidiaries have defined organizational values,
  • violations in the area of ethics in the subsidiaries are reported to a special anonymous box or by telephone,
  • internal codes of ethics or equivalent regulations in the area of ethics are not published on the webpages accessible to business partners or customers.
  • behaviour that is not in compliance with the regulations and provisions of the law is subject to sanctions arising from the provisions of the Labour Code and the entity’s Employment Regulations,
  • in principle the responsibility for managing ethical issues lies with the Management Boards of the companies who are supported by the HR structures,
  • apart from the possibility of reporting violations, there is no universal mechanism for seeking advice and resolving doubts concerning ethics.

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