A&O, CC drive Anglo-Polish banking partnership

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance have scored lead roles on an innovative tie-up of the Polish and British banking sectors.

A&O was lead adviser to PKO Bank Polski and Clifford Chance advised NatWest in the banks’ plan to partner up and corner the million-plus immigrant Polish community resident in the UK.

At A&O, head of financial institutions Alistair Asher led the team alongside IP partner Colin Pearson in London and senior associate Piotr Lesinski in Warsaw. The relationship with PKO, Poland’s largest lender, is managed by Warsaw-based banking partner Arkadiusz Pedzich.

Clifford Chance’s team was led by commercial partner Raj Parkash and associate Darren Peacock. Clifford Chance’s corporate team is busy with another cross-border banking tie-up: the potential €65bn (£44.1bn) merger between client Barclays and Dutch banking giant ABN Amro.

As part of the PKO-NatWest tie-up, the first of its kind in the UK, PKO will offer free cash transfers to NatWest, while the British bank will make any transfer of more than £100 free to PKO. The banks will also offer mortgages off Polish property. NatWest estimates that Poles in Britain send home around £528m a year. The bank already offers phone and internet services in Polish.

PKO also plans to open its first London branch later this year, with A&O advising as part of the transaction. No deal value has been made public.