A cooperative bank, under Article 20 of the Banking Law, is a bank as defined in Article 2 point 1 of the Act on the functioning of cooperative banks, their affiliation and affiliating banks (hereinafter: the ‘Act on cooperative banks’), that is, a bank operating as a cooperative to which, in matters not regulated by the above-mentioned laws, the provisions of the Cooperative Law apply. In accordance with Article 13(2) of the Banking Law, a cooperative bank may only be founded by natural persons in the number required for the establishment of a cooperative, defined by the Cooperative Law (i.e. at least 10 persons). As a rule, a cooperative bank is required to associate with an affiliating bank in accordance with the principles set forth in Article 16 of the Act on cooperative banks. The requirement does not apply to cooperative banks whose initial capital is an equivalent of EUR 5,000,000. The provisions of the Act on cooperative banks do not apply to those banks, except for Articles 5a, 10a–10e, 13, 15 and 32–37, unless those banks are affiliated in accordance with the principles set forth in Article 16 of the Act on cooperative banks, or they are the participants of the protection scheme referred to in Article 22b(1) of the Act on cooperative banks, or of an integrated association referred to in Article 22o(1) of the Act on cooperative banks. Under Article 32(2) of the Banking Law, for cooperative banks whose founders expressed their intent to associate with an affiliating bank of their choice, their initial capital may not be less than the equivalent of EUR 1,000,000 in PLN. Cooperative banks to which the Act on cooperative banks applies in its entirety are subject to the restrictions on the territorial range and on the object of the activity provided for in the said Act.
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