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Existing Polish bank accounts for clients without PESEL number would be frozen starting August 2019?

groovyg 3 | 70
25 Jun 2019 #1
Last week I have received a system email by my bank (mBank), that I do not have a PESEL number and therefore my account would be frozen (no transfers and no card transactions allowed) by the beginning of August.

I opened the account over 10 years ago, PESEL wasn't required at the time. I am using it constantly. I am no longer residing in Europe.

I talked with an mBank banker on the phone, he said that according to a new EU law, starting August 2019 you can not open, or maintain, a European bank account without proof of residency (PESEL in the case of Poland).

According to this, switching to another Polish or any other EU bank is not really an option.

I'm assuming there's tens of thousands of expats in my situation. Would all these accounts be frozen then?

As I do not currently live in Europe getting a PESEL is rather complicated (as far as I understand a rental agreement of at least 3 months is required). I actually do have an EU passport (not Polish) but it doesn't really solve the problem since I am not residing in the EU.

Has anyone heard about this? Any possible workarounds other than coming to Poland, renting a flat for 3 months (which I do not intent to live in) and hence getting a PESEL?

Cargo pants 2 | 973
25 Jun 2019 #2
I have 4 accounts in 4 banks,citibank,allior,mullenium and kredit bank.I dont remember how I opened them but 2 as American and 2 as Polish.I did not get any email yet though.Only citibank issues me W2 on the little interest I earn,but they didnt send me any email yet either.
25 Jun 2019 #3
Is this a confirmed information? If so, it could impact many Poles living abroad, especially those who immigrated to a foreign country before 2000 or so. It can also affect foreigners in Poland who don't have residency. Why would they do that? In the US, you can be "illegal" but can have as many bank accounts as you want. It's not going to help the Polish economy either.
Cargo pants 2 | 973
25 Jun 2019 #4
I dont know yet in my case at least but will be in Poland next week and find out.Even in US if the account is left idle for 1 year is frozen and after 2 years the funds are given to the state,it gets really hard to take back your money from the state with tons of paperwork.Some of my accounts here I just deposit a $ once a year on my birthday so the accounts dont get frozen by the bank.
mafketis 29 | 9,520
25 Jun 2019 #5
I talked with an mBank banker on the phone

did you use a number or link from the email? This sounds a bit like phishing to me.... I'd look up mbank independently (or use a number from bank statements) and then call them...
OP groovyg 3 | 70
25 Jun 2019 #6
^ mafketis, it was a system mail shown to me on my bank account page when I logged in, not an email delivered to my email account. I called mLinia using their official number. This is no scam.

I asked the banker for a confirmation about the situation ('will my account really be frozen'), he sent my case 'higher up', I should receive a reply any day now. But I definitely need to get ready for the scenario that my account may indeed be frozen simply for 'not having a pesel', on a month and a half notice, which is simply insane.
jgrabner 1 | 75
25 Jun 2019 #7
according to a new EU law, you can not open, or maintain, a European bank account without proof of residency

no such law/regulation exists. Bank accounts for non-residents are a very common product in at least the bigger commercial banks and it will continue this way, it's just normal business. It might just be that some banks are not willing to deal with foreigners, in particular - in the case of US residents - with FACTA reporting. Or exclude at will like mBank currently states that "mBank does not offer its services to customers in the United Kingdom", for whatever reason, but that is their choice, not a law.
terri 1 | 1,665
26 Jun 2019 #8
I was very interested in this as I, as a GB citizen living in the UK (no Pesel) have accounts in Alior bank in Krakow. In your case, I would close all the accounts in mBank and go to another bank. All US nationals have to comply with Facta reporting..
Cargo pants 2 | 973
26 Jun 2019 #9
Not all US citizens,esp if they are dual citizens.It depends how and what kind of account you opened.
peterweg 37 | 2,319
27 Jun 2019 #10
If you are not resident in a country, you shouldn't expect to be allowed to keep a bank account there. Its a money laundering/terrorist risk.

Obviously its a big issue with FACTA and non EU citizens like the UK.
terri 1 | 1,665
28 Jun 2019 #11
you shouldn't expect to be allowed to keep a bank account there.

Good thinking, so that means that all banks in Switzerland and other tax havens where money is kept by non-residents should now be frozen.
OP groovyg 3 | 70
28 Jun 2019 #12
"No resident no bank account"? No problem. But they can't allow non-residents to open an account for years on end and then suddenly change their mind and tell people 'you have 6 weeks to become a resident or else'. That's just crazy. Something is very wrong here, it's either mBank have lost their mind, or, it's a huge misunderstanding. I still didn't receive an answer from them.
terri 1 | 1,665
28 Jun 2019 #13
I've found something about opening a bank account for foreigners:
W placówce banku lub przez Internet - potwierdzenie zawarcia umowy przez kuriera (kurier dostarcza dokumenty do podpisu tylko na terenie Polski).
Osoba wnioskująca o konto musi być rezydentem posiadającym PESEL i adres zamieszkania na terenie Polski.
Paszport zagraniczny wraz z kartą pobytu lub paszport zagraniczny wraz z zaświadczeniem o zarejestrowaniu pobytu obywatela Unii Europejskiej w Polsce.

These are obviously mBank own rules. Other banks just require passport or other identity papers.
Sergiusz 6 | 24
29 Jun 2019 #14
Millenium client here. No PESEL. Just had a routine visit to the bank last week and the clerk didn't mention anything. Also no e-mail from the bank.
OP groovyg 3 | 70
11 Jul 2019 #15
Well just to update. I have not received a reply from mBank, so I have contacted them again. The banker on the phone insists that there is an EU rule coming into effect in August, and that as a result of that rule any bank account in Poland without PESEL will be frozen until a PESEL is provided.

I don't know if this is true or not as other banks I talked to do not confirm this.

One thing seems certain though - if you are specifically an mBank client and do not have a PESEL, your account and funds will be frozen starting August.
cms neuf - | 1,585
11 Jul 2019 #16
I can't see How they cannot legally freeze your funds - you are lending them money and have passed all of their security checks henceforth Dash seven means that you must've already proved that you are not a terrorist.

Probably it's gonna be easier to open a new bank account with someone who does want to take your money.
OP groovyg 3 | 70
19 Jul 2019 #17
Got an official written reply from mBank today, loosely translates to: update your account with your pesel number by the end of July, or else.

It's official then.
Cargo pants 2 | 973
19 Jul 2019 #18
Maybe it is because you never used the account?I never got any notification from mBank or any other banks I deal with.
OP groovyg 3 | 70
19 Jul 2019 #19
I'm using it non stop. And now stuck without an account with a 6 weeks notice while I'm not even in Poland. Thanks mBank.
Cargo pants 2 | 973
21 Jul 2019 #20
I suggest send an power of attorney(duly notarised and with appostle) to any one close to you in Poland and withdraw or transfer funds electronically,installing mbank app.
jgrabner 1 | 75
21 Jul 2019 #21
for mBank, it seems so. In their regulations they say:

Rachunki prowadzimy na podstawie Umowy. Możemy ją zawrzeć z osobą, która:
a) mieszka w Polsce,
b) jest osobą pełnoletnią ...

compared to the previous version , mieszka w Polsce is a new requirement.

Compared to e.g. the regulations of Millennium Bank, whose new version goes into effect starting September 2019 and says Bank prowadzi Rachunki bankowe w złotych i w walutach obcych na rzecz rezydentów i nierezydentów w rozumieniu przepisów prawa dewizowego, ie they clearly state that they provide accounts also for non-residents, this a mBank thing, they seem not to want to deal with non-residents anymore.
OP groovyg 3 | 70
21 Jul 2019 #22
So, a bank decides to randomly close out all accounts of non-residents, gives them a 6 weeks notice, and tells all phone support personnel to tell the puzzled clients that "it's the EU's fault".

Great work mBank.
Cargo pants 2 | 973
21 Jul 2019 #23
I think you should not worry about it.What can they do with your funds,they will have to give you back except that you cannot operate the account.I almost had the similar situation when citibank told me to come take my money as I dont have a job in Poland and the manager opened the account by mistake.I just told them to burn the money for I care as I will not,I will come when I need the money and they better have it.They couldnt do anything and I still have the account 19 years.

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