U.S. banks will propose to all of Poland's 400 creditors that the economically ravaged Eastern bloc nation be granted new loans linked to the interest it repays on the more than $23 billion of debt outstanding to Western banks and governments.
At a meeting in New York Tuesday, the U.S. banks agreed that for every $1 in interest Poland repays, it could receive 50 cents toward a new loan to finance its imports. All together, U.S. banks are owed about $100 million in interest this year. If Poland paid that interest, under the plan U.S. banks agreed to propose, the country could get new loans from U.S. banks totalling $50 million. The Poles would have to use that money to finance imports from the United States, banking sources said.
A task force representing all creditors of Poland will meet next Thursday and Friday in London to try to decide what to do about the debt that Poland is having troubles repaying as a result of the economic strife in that country.
American banks in general have taken a harder line on Polish debt than have many European banks, in large part because American banks have much less at risk in Poland than do European, especially West German, institutions.