With no decades old banking infrastructure as baggage this Economist article points out nicely that Poland's banking system has become one of Europe’s little-known star performers. Poland’s young, technophile and internationalised elite have worked out how to make money as bankers to conservative and traditionally borrowing-shy consumers.
Though boring in their investing and lending, Poland’s banks are innovative in service. Because the country built its banking system essentially from scratch, it was never hampered by legacy practices such as paper cheques. Poland is the European leader in contactless payments. Alior, another young bank (and one of the few without a majority foreign partner) has targeted some of Poland’s rural “unbanked” (30% or so of the population do not have a bank account). Alior’s “Kill Bill” campaign promised free and easy payment of utility bills, and signed up many customers for accounts and loans. Idea, a rival, asks potential small-business customers for the passwords to their existing online-banking facilities; after a quick scan of their past transactions it instantly makes a loan offer.