The European and Hungarian economies need more loans than ever for economic development and liquidity in order to counter the effects of the recession caused by the war.
At today's interest rates, the six-month extension of the interest rate freeze would cause losses of around HUF 70 billion, the equivalent of a full year's bank tax, to the banking sector. With the extra tax included, the additional financial burden on banks already exceeds HUF 500 billion – approximately the equivalent of the banking sector's full-year P/L last year. All this is being borne by the financial sector amidst economic difficulties that are also impacting financial institutions. The highly regulated banking sector also faces the additional task of putting forth any necessary provisions necessitated by the risk of recession brought about by the war. The bearing of these extra burdens will prevent the placement of some HUF 4 000 billion worth of credit, which, in turn, will result in a loss of about 1% of GDP growth.
Over the past years, the Government, MNB and the banking sector have regularly drawn the attention of the customers concerned to the safety of fixed-rate loans. Since January last year, the 3-month BUBOR has risen from 0.75% to the current 13%. By applying a BUBOR rate of 2.02%, the risk and cost of the interest rate freeze is placed solely on the banking sector, while customers have received several notices on the risks of variable interest rate loans, in line with the law and MNB regulations, as well as multiple personalised letters calling upon them to switch to a safer fixed-rate loan. The above practice does not enhance the financial awareness of customers.
For the above reasons, the Hungarian Banking Association is of the view that, instead of the introduction of a scheme that distorts market conditions, the only appropriate professional solution to securing the growth of the Hungarian economy is the gradual phasing-out of the interest rate freeze.
Budapest, 19 September 2022
The Hungarian Banking AssociationMore details >>
The extremely dry weather conditions across the region and in significant parts of Hungary are creating major difficulties for the agricultural sector, which banks are seeking to help farmers overcome. The recently published Government Decree on the agricultural credit moratorium offers a full moratorium for certain agricultural sectors, going far beyond the principal moratorium proposed by banks, which can be financially justified in certain cases. As a result of the extreme weather, and in order to maintain the dynamics of development, the agricultural sector will require additional, substantial bank credit. The banking sector is ready to provide this in the form of market-conform solutions. However, due to the deterioration in customer risk ratings resulting from international regulations, the Government Decree published will make it more difficult for applying customers to meet creditworthiness criteria, which also carries a significant financial risk. The Hungarian Banking Association calls upon businesses that are facing difficulties due to the drought or for other reasons to find an appropriate financial solution in consultation with their own bank, thus ensuring the predictable development of their business.
Budapest, 9 August 2022
the Hungarian Banking AssociationMore details >>
Since the 2008 global economic crisis, the banking sector has been facing new challenges and special extra taxes. In 2021, commercial banks contributed HUF 520 billion to Hungary's budget. On top of the bank tax, which was introduced in 2010 in a temporary manner, the special bank operating charges (OBA [Deposit Insurance Fund], BEVA [Investor Protection Fund], the Resolution Fund, supervisory fees etc.); the cost of offering two free cash withdrawals per month together with the financial burden of the transaction levy; the general corporate taxes, now a significant new obligation to contribute to the budget has emerged. Thus, the cumulative impact of these payment obligations is already threatening the ability of the Hungarian banking sector to boost economic development and act as the facilitator of capital flows. Thanks to EU regulations and the tax burdens imposed locally, the value of the banking sector focussed on Central Europe has already halved over the past ten years, relative to its global, US competitors.
The banking sector is closely intertwined with other economic actors at many different levels, and its success also determines the development of the national economy. Financial activities, which are increasingly becoming globalised and digitalised, require constant development, significant capital and the preservation of international competitiveness. Maintaining confidence in the banking sector is in the common interest of all economic players and decision-makers. Under the current environmental conditions, the domestic banking sector stopped generating profits in the first quarter of 2022. The Hungarian banking sector is opposed to the imposition of additional tax payment obligations.
The Hungarian banking sector now faces a double challenge: after the pandemic and in the shadow of the war raging in the neighbourhood, the goal is to maintain momentum in the Hungarian economy, and at the same time support the regional activities of Hungarian companies by helping them regain their competitiveness. The banking sector will only be able to perform these tasks if the credit moratorium is fully phased out without the imposition of extra tax obligations, and the interest rates of loans falling within the scope of the interest rate freeze scheme are aligned with commercial interest rate levels as soon as possible. The profitability of the Hungarian banking sector can only be assessed over a longer period of time. Over the past 12 years, the banking sector has achieved a ROE of 1%, without dividends. Even in the most favourable business environment, the banking sector has realised a single-digit profit, which it has typically used to improve and boost the intensity of business activity; i.e. no extra profit can be generated in a highly competitive banking sector with numerous players.
In an inflationary environment, rising revenues are matched with rising expenditures, and in financial markets the price of services is set by the market. Extra taxes imposed on financial service providers further reduce the efficiency and lending capacity of the banking sector, and oblige it to generate extra provisions. In the open EU money market, the extra financial burdens are already putting domestic banks at a competitive disadvantage in pricing, reducing the commercial profitability of the Hungarian banking sector, as well as the sector's contribution to the national economy. The extra financial obligations imposed on banks operating in Hungary lend an unequal advantage to foreign players offering cross-border services, as they can operate without extra burdens, in a less regulated and at the same time less secure way.
The banking sector can only repeat the outstanding performance it produced through difficult times, including the intermediation of government programmes and the provision of banking products, if it remains competitive. The rebuilding of the economy requires targeted government, development, foreign trade and central banking programmes, which can be effectively delivered to families and businesses by the banking sector. The foundations for Hungary's next decade and the country’s growth above the EU’s average can only be supported by a regionally competitive and stable banking sector that can offer the right answers to the challenges posed by digitalisation and green matters.
Budapest, 3 June 2022
The Hungarian Banking Association
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The Hungarian Banking Association held its Annual General Meeting earlier today. At the meeting, Finance Minister Mihály Varga informed participants about the outlook for the Hungarian economy, while Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), briefed attendants about the future vision for the Hungarian economy. The Members of the Hungarian Banking Association agreed to publish the following statement.More details >>
Almost immediately after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Hungarian banks reacted to the humanitarian crisis by taking measures to help refugees in Ukraine.
Support provided by banks and action taken:
- Helping Ukrainian citizens to open accounts and perform bank transactions, providing information in their mother tongue in some banks.
- Several banks have introduced special services, including the exchange of Ukrainian hryvnias into Hungarian forints in designated branches, up to a certain value limit.
- Several banks have made bank transfers to Ukraine free of charge and do not charge any device fees in respect of this service.
- Some banks reimburse the bank fees charged for transfers from the accounts of private individual customers to Ukraine or from the accounts of private individual or business customers to charity organisations playing a key role in providing humanitarian aid.
- Instant grants, partly through own foundations and partly directly, to humanitarian organisations present in Hungary, including the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, the Charity Service of the Hungarian Reformed Church, the Hungarian Red Cross, Interchurch Aid, UNICEF and the Bridge for Transcarpathia Programme.
- Collecting non-perishable food, clothing and other donations in kind; purchasing medicines and transporting them to collection points or even to the other side of the border;
- Transporting refugees from the border, providing accommodation and food;
- Assistance in obtaining residence permits in Hungary;
- Providing jobs for Ukrainian bank workers;
- Educational support for children, finding educational opportunities, providing laptops and Internet for distance learning, holding student sessions;
- Collecting financial donations;
- Collecting and delivering donations in kind to families that have remained in Transcarpathia - where women, children and elderly people have been left alone; as well as to refugees who have fled to Hungary;
- Volunteering: mentoring, transport and travel arrangements.
Banks in Hungary will take into account the request of the European Banking Authority to ensure compliance with the sanctions, and facilitate access to basic payment accounts for refugees. The establishment of the customer relationship, the opening of payment accounts and the depositing of cash into the account always take place in accordance with the effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules, regardless of nationality. The Hungarian banking sector continually monitors the international situation and the sanctions introduced in the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and acts accordingly.More details >>
The explosively growing digital world has become very attractive to cybercriminals. Attackers use sophisticated tricks or promises to scam money or valuable financial information. Yet it's hard to believe that fraudsters are now working on an industrial scale to cause us harm – until, that is, we get personally affected.
In recent days, a successful international police operation in Latvia and Lithuania has seen 108 people arrested for a multi-million Euro call centre scam.
A short video produced by the authorities on closing down fraudulent call centres:
Domestic authorities and experts in the banking sector are also closely monitoring current cyber risk factors and suspicious acts. Hungarian victims have also been at the receiving end of fraudulent cross-border calls. Be especially careful if a bank or some other official contacts you and asks you for information with an accent, using an unusual dialect or incorrect technical terms!
8 April 2022More details >>
Hungarian Banking Association
GOOD DEED (JÓTETT) Bank - GREEN HEART Programme
With a GREE HEART and the diligence of bees for a greener future
At the initiative of the Hungarian Banking Association, the Hungarian banking sector has planted 3 trees for each bank employee, a total of 120 000 saplings, for a more sustainable future. Dr. István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, personally welcomed the "GOOD DEED Bank - GREEN HEART" initiative, and presented certificates of recognition to key sponsors.More details >>
On Monday, the 8th Money Week (PÉNZ7) programme was launched in Hungary. This year, 155 000 students from more than 1 000 schools have registered to participate in 11 000 unique lessons under the programme. As in previous years, hundreds of volunteering financial professionals and businesspersons are contributing their personal experience to make the lessons even more authentic for students. This year, their number exceeds 450.More details >>
The number of unauthorised attempts to obtain data and commit fraud in cyberspace has increased significantly in recent weeks. Victims are typically unsuspecting people. To protect ourselves from such fraud, we need members of society to come together, by raising awareness among family members and acquaintances and sharing methods of protection. We kindly ask you to play your part in this process and in prevention.
The methods are constantly changing, but you can effectively protect yourself against the different types of fraud in the following ways:
- Everyone must protect their own data. Financial service providers and their staff will never ask you to share your financial details with them, and therefore they will certainly not ask you for your bank account balance, bank card details, passwords or PIN codes. Never give these out to others. Be careful, ask questions, and if the phone conversation does not proceed the usual way, or you become unsure during the call, terminate the call and contact your own bank through the usual channels and ask about any suspicious transactions.
- Never open links received through digital channels if they lead to a financial website! Often, fraudsters use fake pages that look deceptively similar to real banking websites. In all instances, type in your bank's website address all the way through to access the site, or open your familiar page from your favourites. Sending financial links is a favourite approach of fraudsters!
- Never download financial software or applications to a computer or mobile phone based on a phone recommendation. If you are unsure, you should always visit your bank in person or call your own bank or administrator.
Please, help us prevent fraud by following and disseminating the above advice.
24 February 2022 Hungarian Banking Association
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The Hungarian Banking Association's JÓTETT (GOOD DEED) Bank initiative was granted a Special Award in the ‘Social Initiative of the Year’ category. JÓTETT (GOOD DEED) Bank is the joint social programme of the Hungarian Banking Association and the banking sector, which, in the period when COVID reached its most severe stage, enabled banks to increase the number of their good deeds by around 25% at sector level, instead of a drop. Through this initiative, the domestic financial sector also joined forces to help fight the pandemic.
Dr. Éva Búza Búza, CEO of Garantiqa Hitelgarancia Zrt., was elected ‘Banker of the Year’ in the Mastercard Bank of the Year 2021 competition – the most prestigious contest for Hungarian commercial banks. This year, the Award was presented jointly by the international payment technology company - the organiser of the competition for the past 16 years, and the Hungarian Banking Association. The winner of the Bank of the Year Award was again selected by the CEOs of Hungarian financial institutions. The winner of the Award is Dr. Éva Búza, CEO of Garantiqa Hitelgarancia, her employer for over ten years. She has previously worked for the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV), the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), the Hungarian Postal Service (Magyar Posta) and the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB).
Budapest, 11 February 2022More details >>
On 19 January 2022, the Digital Prosperity Programme and the Hungarian Banking Association formally concluded a co-operation agreement. The agreement was signed by Dr. András Levente Gál, Head of the Digital Prosperity Programme (DPP) and Professor Dr. Levente Kovács, Secretary General of the Hungarian Banking Association.
The co-operation between the two organisations is based on the shared notion that the advancement of the digital awareness of Hungarian users and consumers must also be a strategic goal in the financial sector, and co-ordinated action is required to achieve this goal. Under the agreement, co-operating partners will explore future professional connection points along a common set of objectives, such as promoting the development of electronic processes in the area of financial services, raising cybersecurity awareness and popularising financial services certified as trustworthy by the Digital Prosperity Financial Trademark.More details >>
On 16 December 2021, the Hungarian Banking Association, the National Cyber Defence Institute of the National Security Service and the Anti-Cybercrime Department of the National Investigation Bureau of the Rapid Reaction Force held a joint press event organised by the National Police Headquarters to raise awareness of currently prevailing types of fraud in cyberspace.
During the pandemic, the number of card payments and digital transactions increased significantly. At the same time, it was also proven that electronic payment solutions are safe. According to statistics from the European Central Bank, Hungary has the second lowest credit card fraud losses in Europe, earning the country a silver medal.
However, we must use our electronic wallets with caution. A few simple rules must be followed, as careless cardholders are also targeted by criminal groups.
Cybercriminals are likely to try and benefit from the festive season again this year by attempting to take advantage of unguarded shoppers.
Speakers gave a summary of common deception methods.More details >>
On 11 November 2021, six organisations signed a co-operation agreement to further develop the financial and entrepreneurial skills of students as part of the MONEY WEEK theme week organised in the 2021/2022 academic year. Co-operating parties include the Ministry of Human Capacities as the owner of the project, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the Hungarian Banking Association, the Pénziránytű (Money Compass) Foundation and the Junior Achievement Hungary Foundation. MONEY WEEK, the event series aimed at developing financial and entrepreneurial awareness through interactive tools will be organised for the eighth time between 7-11 March next year. Since the launch of the programme, it has been part of the European Money Week initiative, which takes place simultaneously in some 30 countries. In Hungary, 171 500 students from more than 1 100 schools participated in the programme in the previous academic year. In recognition of the outstandingly high number of participants, on three occasions the Hungarian programme was ranked among the best of the Global Money Week event series.More details >>
In addition to discussing rapidly developing bilateral economic relations, representatives of the two countries' financial sectors also talked in detail about the effects of their co-operation on further rapprochement between the Balkans and the European Union in the two-day meeting series.
First of all, bank CEOs reviewed current financial matters, including, in particular, the financial challenges posed by the restarting of the economy in the wake of the COVID pandemic. They listened to a report on the results of Hungarian family support schemes, and compared the responses of the two countries’ banking sectors to sustainability and digital challenges.
The meeting held with the Chief Executives of companies that play a key role in bilateral economic affairs was focused on export/import issues, as well as on opportunities for mutual capital investments and the funding of various economic co-operation programmes. At a separate meeting held with the Vice Governors of the National Bank of Serbia, special emphasis was given to the development of financial relations between Serbia and the EU’s financial institutions, as well as to the supporting activities performed by the Hungarian Banking Association in this matter.
In his position as the President of the Hungarian Banking Association, Jelasity Radován himself emphasised with regard to the visit that "Hungary sees Serbia as a friend, an important partner in economic development and the gateway to the Balkans". He stressed that "Through this meeting we wish to promote not only the investments of Hungarian companies in Serbia and in the Balkans, but also the investments in Hungary of companies present in these regions. The common goal is to further boost trade and economic co-operation between our countries, in which the financial sector plays a key role." Finally, referring to the visit of Péter Szijjártó, Minister for Foreign Trade and Affairs to Serbia in August, he quoted the Minister’s words: "There is no strong European Union without enlargement and there is no enlargement without Serbia".
Representatives from the Association of Serbian Banks emphasized the importance of the support of the state and the National Bank of Serbia since the beginning of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as that support has positively impacted financial stability, access to services, as well as the position of both the banks and their clients. The role of associations is important in fulfilling these goals, and the Association of Serbian Banks is dedicated to helping its member banks in their efforts towards serving the economy, clients and public.
Both delegations agreed on the importance of the development of future initiatives between the two banking associations.
Budapest, 14 October 2021
Association of Serbian Banks Hungarian Banking Association
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In addition to the 11 organiser banks from Hungary, government leaders and other sponsoring banks also joined the blood donation events of the JÓTETT Bank programme series launched by the Hungarian Banking Association and elevated to a nation-wide event this year. On the closing day of Banking Blood Donor Week, employees and invited guests donated blood at the head office of Budapest Bank and the Service Centre in Békéscsaba, among other venues. More than 2 100 units of blood were collected during the week-long programme. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the fact that, despite the pandemic, it is extremely important to have sufficient blood supplies, as blood products are essential not only in the case of accidents or surgeries, but also for the treatment of various illnesses.
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This year, Hungarian financial institutions will draw attention to the importance of social responsibility programmes once again at the Banking Blood Donors’ Week by participating in a joint blood donation event. The Hungarian Banking Association and the Hungarian banking sector launched a joint CSR program called JÓTETT Bank one year ago. During Banking Blood Donors’ Week, financial institutions help save lives. The idea is that the CEOs and staff of financial institutions should contribute to blood stocks by donating their own blood, thus supporting a continuous supply to those who need it.
The crisis caused by the pandemic has not only transformed the operation of the economy and society, but has also affected the social responsibility programmes of banks. Although relative to 2019, the number of bank volunteers and volunteer programmes may have declined, and thus fewer social projects and events could have been implemented with the support of banks, the value of grants, i.e. the amount spent on social purposes at sectoral level, increased by over 20% between 2019 and 2020. In 2020, the contribution of the Hungarian banking sector to society’s day-to-day life amounted to nearly HUF 10 billion, emphasised Jelasity Radován, President of the Hungarian Banking Association and President and CEO of Erste Bank, on the opening day of the second Banking Blood Donors’ Week.More details >>
The Board of the Hungarian Banking Association has decided to publish the following announcement concerning the extension of the loan repayment moratorium and the settlement of interest for credit cards and overdraft facilities.
The Hungarian banking sector supports the repeated extension of the moratorium subject to the introduction of the principle of “need”, accepting that this will impose a significant additional financial burden on banks. Aiming to supporting a rapid economic recovery that is also noticeable at the level of society, we agree that the extension of the moratorium should not apply to the entire customer base. The Hungarian Banking Association's recommendation remains that whoever is able to do so, should continue or start repaying their loans. Being under the moratorium means a deferral of payments, and any outstanding debt must be paid after the end of the moratorium. Starting loan repayments as late as possible will increase the financial burden and extend the repayment period.
Through its record-breaking lending activity in recent times, the Hungarian banking sector has done much to support the V-shaped recovery of the Hungarian economy, whilst not receiving any direct financial support, unlike other economic players. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been saying that, first and foremost, we need to support our customers in need. This is the reason why the Hungarian banking sector has been supporting debtors for a much longer period of time and to a much greater extent than other countries in the region. In addition, in order to safeguard the economy, in mid-2020 we agreed to pay extra taxes of HUF 55 billion into the central budget.
Taking note of its contribution so far, the Hungarian Banking Association acknowledges the Government's decision of 15 September to settle the debt resulting from the moratorium in respect of credit cards and overdraft facilities at significantly reduced interest rates, as of 18 March 2020, but we consider it important to note that, due to the very characteristics of these products, since the beginning of the moratorium we have repeatedly drawn the Government’s attention to our position that credit cards and overdraft facilities should be left out of the moratorium. It is not fair to recalculate interest on these credit products retroactively, bringing them on a par with the interest rate of cash loans, as the interest rates and risks of the different products are also different. Interest was calculated in accordance with the contract, and banks acted in compliance with the law during the moratorium. The banking sector kept customers informed about the interest rate payable in respect of their debt accumulated under the moratorium, allowing them to make a responsible decision on whether they wished to stay under the moratorium. This decision will have a negative impact on the financial awareness of customers, and is also unfair to clients who did not opt for the moratorium, and are repaying their loans in a responsible manner.
The Hungarian Banking Association continues to consider effective co-operation between the Government and the banking sector to be essential for the successful restarting of the economy.
Budapest, 16 September 2021
The Board of the Hungarian Banking Association
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The Hungarian Banking Association agrees with and supports the recommendations set out by MNB in its management circular on 2 July regarding the waiving of bank fees related to the settlement of debt accumulated by customers whilst under the payment moratorium.
Accordingly, the HBA recommends that its member banks universally introduce the procedure already used in individual cases, whereby they refrain from charging early repayment or contract amendment fees when a customer is repaying interest and/or fees accumulated during the moratorium.
In addition, it should also be generally possible for customers to be exempted from the payment of bank fees associated with the amendment of the contract in cases where the consumer agrees to pay a higher instalment with a view to reducing the extended loan term, and the new repayment instalment fulfils the 'debt brake' conditions.
Undoubtedly, the main purpose of the moratorium and, in this context, the core social function of the banking sector was to provide targeted, fast assistance to retail and business customers, in order to alleviate the payment difficulties resulting from the pandemic. We agree with measures that help maintain the solvency of borrowing customers in difficult times, and, in the improving economic situation, also support a return to the fulfilment of payment obligations.
We wish to point out, however, also in confirmation of the information issued by MNB, that those who remain under the moratorium will incur interest in respect of their debt. Therefore, we encourage everyone to resume the repayment of the instalments they had agreed to in their earlier contracts, as much as possible.More details >>
The Hungarian Banking Association held its annual ordinary General Meeting today. Finance minister, Mihály Varga, delivered an evaluation the current state of the Hungarian economy, and Governor of the National Bank of Hungary, György Matolcsy, presented a vision for Hungary following the pandemic, and both greeted the participants of the General Meeting in a video message.
The Members of the Hungarian Banking Association decided to issue the following statement concerning the current state of the economy:
The state of emergency caused by Covid-19 in 2020 has continued into the first half of 2021. The successive waves of the pandemic and the spread of the coronavirus have manifested themselves differently across the European Union. Governments have taken a variety of protective measures. In Hungary, the third wave has caused the most severe health challenge. The possibility of restarting the economy as quickly as possible is helped by an effective vaccination program.
Data available to us show that the Hungarian economic downturn in 2020 corresponds to European trends; whilst the rate of unemployment has been largely kept under control and real wage growth has remained stable for the majority of people who managed to keep full-time jobs. There are clear signs that in 2021 the economy is on the way to recovery. This has been to a great extent facilitated by the Hungarian banking sector's lending activity in coordination with the measures implemented by the Government and the National Bank of Hungary. Another significant factor at play was that the moratorium on loan repayments introduced in Hungary to ease the burden on retail and business clients caused by the pandemic turned out to be the most favourable scheme for customers across Europe. Sparing no effort or extra costs, the Hungarian banking sector has demonstrated its readiness to serve its retail and business clients despite the major challenges faced. In 2020, a year ravaged by the pandemic, corporate loan disbursements increased by 6% compared to the previous year, and, parallel with this, Government family welfare support programmes were developed and implemented by the banking sector, even as the aggregate cost of the loan repayment moratorium schemes is expected to exceed HUF 400 billion. The key goal of the moratorium, and, in particular, the core task of the banking sector is to provide targeted and effective support specifically to those who need it. A programme that goes beyond this goal can no longer be professionally supported by the Hungarian Banking Association, as there is no justification for incurring extra costs for the banking sector in respect of customers who have sufficient income and/or reserves to meet their financial obligations. The fast rebooting of the economy and the maintenance of the intensity of lending activity in the banking sector are guaranteed by the fact that both professional and social aspects are taken into consideration.
However, the extraordinary difficulties have yielded positive effects as well: banks have accelerated digital transformation, and in just a few months we made as much progress as we would normally have in a decade. This has an impact in all areas of the economy. Looking ahead, electronic payments are expected to increase, leading to a whitening of the economy and a rise in tax revenues, as well as a drop in the costs associated with cash usage. Paper-based transactions and related administrative duties are declining. New forms of engaging workforce are emerging, resulting in more flexible work solutions that may be better suited to individual life situations. New types of jobs are created, and their quick adoption brings competitive advantages. However, we must also be mindful that, due to the accelerated digital transformation, the number of attempts at fraud in the field of electronic banking is on the rise, and new forms of cyber-crime are emerging. These can only be countered effectively through extensive cooperation and professional assistance in the fields of IT and finance, the deepening of our clients’ financial knowledge and conscious customer behaviour.
Taking a look at the international scene, we see that the system of global relations is shifting, and in this process diverging interests come to the surface, often leading to conflict. In this complex and volatile period, Hungarian foreign economic activity progresses and defines its goals in the fields of investments, economic co-operation and export-import markets with an openness and readiness to seize new opportunities, including on export-import markets. The toolkit available the Hungarian banking sector makes a significant contribution to the success of these processes. The development of global integration and co-operation, with special focus on the European Union, also supports the stability and strengthening of financial markets, contributing to sustainable economic growth.
In recognition of last year's achievements, prizes were also awarded at the General Meeting.
‘Golden Beehive Award’ recipients:
- Katalin Baginyi (Unicredit Bank) for her outstanding achievements in corporate financing and the development of banking products,
- Tibor Gáspár (Raiffeisen Bank) in recognition of his unrelenting efforts in the fields of taxation and accounting,
- Erika Lakos (K&H Bank) for her outstanding work in the field of banking regulatory tasks,
- Erik Landgráf (Takarék Mortgage Bank) for his unique service in the field of legal regulation of the banking sector,
- József Polgár (KDB Bank) for several decades of outstanding work in the field of vault and cash management.
‘Ambassador of Financial Culture’ award recipients:
- Zsófia Strasszer (‘Keleti Károly’ High School of Economics, Budapest) secondary school student, winner of the 2021 European Union Financial Quiz (organised under the EBF’s European Money Week programme),
- Viktória Hegyi (‘Keleti Károly’ High School of Economics, Budapest) coach of the 2021 European Union Financial Quiz champion.
As the former chairman of the Hungarian Banking Association’s Supervisory Board, David Moucheron (K&H Bank) will continue his career at the parent bank, he resigned from this position. For the term ending with the election of new officials in 2023, the General Meeting appointed Balázs Tóth (Unicredit Bank) as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
The bank CEOs attending the General Meeting expressed their special thanks to colleagues in the financial sector for their dedication over the past year. Concerning the handling of the pandemic situation, all key observers were highly appreciative of the performance of the banking sector and its employees. We are thankful for the recognition and acknowledgment of our work, and will remain committed in our effort to fully earn this trust in the future.
Budapest, May 26, 2021 The Hungarian Banking AssociationMore details >>
The Board of the Hungarian Banking Association makes a recommendation to its members, institutions in the banking sector, to effectively promote the achievement of full vaccination. It is recommended that employees requesting and receiving the vaccine be given 1 day off by their institution's Chief Executive, either on or after the day of vaccination, thus supporting access to vaccination. The Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is requesting companies to register as many people as possible for vaccination at https://vakcinainfo.gov.hu. Given the importance of full vaccination for society in general, the Hungarian Banking Association and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry encourage their partners as well as all businessesand institutions to consider these recommendations. We hope that through this recommendation we can also contribute to restarting the Hungarian economy as soon as possible.More details >>
The 55 national winners who competed in the finals of the European Financial Quiz organised as part of the European Money Week event series had been selected from 50 thousand students representing 28 participating European countries. Zsófia Strasszer of Hungary, a student at the Keleti Károly Specialised Grammar School in Budapest, beat the field with a flawless performance in the pan-European competition, which was held earlier in Brussels online, now for the second year running, due to the pandemic.
Launched by the European Banking Federation, the European Money Week event series aims to help students interested in finance expand their knowledge and boost their understanding of the importance of financial awareness in their daily lives, from an early age.
For further details, please, visit the EBF website: https://www.ebf.eu/europeanmoneyquiz/
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A new type of phishing attack is actively spreading across several countries, and it reached Hungary in recent days. In the most recent fraud attempt, fraudsters are trying to access data by sending a text message about the impending delivery of a package.
The Hungarian Banking Association has confirmed the announcement of the National Police Headquarters and has called for intense caution by drawing attention to the wave of data theft attempts through text messaging.More details >>
The thematic week of the MONEY WEEK programme focussed on finance and business is launching
Due to the current situation caused by the pandemic, the MONEY WEEK programme helps teachers hold their lessons using solutions that can function in a digital environment. Online lessons and pre-recorded presentations are delivered, among others, by Mihály Varga, Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, as well as several executives in the Government sector and bank CEOs. This year, there is intense interest yet again in the in MONEY WEEK programme: approximately 170 000 students from more than 1 000 schools will join the programme through around 12 000 special lessons held with the participation of 700 volunteers. In 2015, Hungary was one of the founding members to join the European Money Week initiative, which takes place simultaneously in about 30 countries across Europe. This year, the school events of the Hungarian MONEY WEEK programme will take place in the March 1-5 period.
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GOOD DEED Bank's Fast Track Lane programme is an educational donation drive, which aims to close the digital gap for schools and students in need.
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Six organizations have signed a co-operation agreement with a view to boosting the financial and business knowledge of students, as part of the thematic week of MONEY WEEK held in the 2020/2021 academic year.
It is for the 7th time that MONEY WEEK, a programme supporting the financial and business awareness of participants through interactive means is organised. Since its very launch, the programme has been part of the European Money Week initiative running parallel in approximately 30 countries. In the previous academic year, 217 thousand students from more than 1 200 schools participated in exactly 12 000 lessons in Hungary, with the involvement of 900 volunteers. In recognition of its high attendance rates, the Hungarian programme has been three times selected as one of the best in the Global Money Week event series.
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Budapest, 16 October 2020
A number of member banks joined the first event of the GOOD DEED Bank programme series created by the Board of the Hungarian Banking Association. On the closing day of Banking Blood Donation Week, Takarékbank’s staff and invited guests could donate blood in the bank’s head office building. Takarékbank was pleased to join Banking Blood Donation Week, the common initiative of the Hungarian Banking Association, the banking sector, the National Blood Service and the Hungarian Red Cross. “There's something you can't buy for money. It is blood, the liquid tissue that cannot be purchased and isn’t available on international markets - it can only be acquired through blood donation...”- stressed József Vida, Chairman and CEO of Takarékbank, who himself gave blood. “We estimate that by the end of the week we could potentially reach 600 blood donors in total. We wish to thank bank staff for participating in this noble initiative in such high numbers" - said Dr. Sándor Nagy, Professional Deputy Director-General of the National Blood Supply Service. In his welcome speech, Levente Kovács, Chief Secretary of the Hungarian Banking Association also pointed out the importance of setting an example and blood donation, and announced that after the Banking Blood Donation Week, a Digital Fast Track programme would also be launched at the end of the year to supply underprivileged students and schools with IT devices.
For further information on conducting interviews or with any queries please, contact Ágnes Sütő, Deputy Chief Secretary of Communications at the Hungarian Banking Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +36 70 9381609
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Budapest, 14 October 2020
Under the GOOD DEED Bank initiative, a sector-wide awareness-raising voluntary programme, today OTP’s staff and representatives of participating supervisory and government actors and invited guests could donate blood in the company’s office buildings. "Blood cannot be replaced by anything else, and thus it is equally important for everyone to ensure a smooth blood supply in Hungary, not only as part of day-to-day life, but also at times such as during the current pandemic, when co-operation and joint action are of paramount importance. " - said András Becsei, who donated blood in the bank's Deák Ferenc Street Office Building in the early hours of the morning.
For further information on conducting interviews or with any queries please, contact Ágnes Sütő, Deputy Chief Secretary of Communications at the Hungarian Banking Association at email@example.com or on +36 70 9381609More details >>
Budapest, 12 October, 2020
The Hungarian Banking Association and the domestic banking sector have launched a joint CSR programme under the name of JÓTETT Bank [GOOD DEED Bank]. In co-operation with the National Blood Supply Service and the Hungarian Red Cross, the Hungarian Banking Association will be organizing Bank Blood Donor Week between 12-26 October for the very first time, as the starting event of the GOOD DEED Bank programme. According to Radován Jelasity, President of the Hungarian Banking Association, it is symbolic that, on the very first occasion, GOOD DEED Bank, the new charitable programme initiated by the Association's Board, shows the strength of co-operation between financial institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic: "Banks help rebuild the economy by maintaining access to credit, while, by donating blood, we aim to help people recover and prosper" – explained the President.
For further information on conducting interviews or with any queries please, contact Ágnes Sütő, Deputy Chief Secretary of Communications at the Hungarian Banking Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +36 70 9381609.More details >>
HUNGARIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION
on the lending moratorium
The global coronavirus epidemic brings complex challenges for the economy.
The Prime Minister has announced that he will take significant economic measures. The main financial element of these measures is the moratorium on retail and corporate loan repayments until December 31, 2020. This can be a quick and efficient aid for families and enterprises in need. On March 19, 2020 the financial sphere, i.e. banks and leasing companies, stopped collecting repayments based on the measures prescribed by the government decree. However, customers who do not wish to take advantage of the moratorium may continue repaying their loans with the original terms of their contract – they possess both the right and the opportunity to do so.
The banking sector will ensure that a declaration can be submitted to indicate such an intent, and that it will be possible to retract in the future. We are currently working on the sample declaration form, we ask for your patience until it is published. Please do not contact banks’ customer services with your anticipatory questions as they might be overburdened in this time of emergency. We especially ask that you avoid walking into bank branches.
The detailed rules and the implementation process for the Prime Minister’s announcement are being consulted and elaborated. We kindly ask our customers to be patient in the next few days. Once the above mentioned technicalities have been worked out, everyone concerned will receive detailed information. The government decision and its indirect impact are very significant. The banking sector possesses the liquidity necessary for it. The interest income, the collection of which will now be delayed, amounts to nearly 450 billion forints, whereas the free liquidity ensuring the stability of the banking sector is over 13 000 billion forints. This volume is made possible by the regulations instated after the 2008 economic crisis that necessitate the accumulation of capital, as well as by the liquidity of money markets.
The financial sector trusts that through the precise and strict implementation of the government measures the national economy has the chance to get through these critical times over the course of a few months.
The duration of the moratorium extends beyond the crisis management period and is likely to stretch into the relaunch period. In addition to implementing the measures, the banking sector is also preparing to relaunch economic activity after the epidemic is over. In order to do this, it is essential to have a harmonized and all-comprehensive common economic package where Hungarian banks will play a key role, just as they have in the past. In order to sustainably finance the rebuilding of the national economy, it is necessary to terminate the extra burdens on the financial institutions sector. Therefore, we ask for all levies and special taxes burdening banks to be phased out starting from January 1, 2020.
March 19, 2020 Hungarian Banking Association
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The Hungarian Banking Association celebrated the 30th anniversary of its establishment on April 4-5, 2019 with a ceremonial program series. This anniversary date coincided with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Banking Association’s predecessor, the Association of Savings Banks and Banks (TÉBE). On the opening date the financial sector held an International Financial Leaders’ Forum, which was opened by Minister of Finance, Mihály Varga.* The closing event of the program series was the Hungarian Banking Association’s General Meeting, where the leaders of the Banking Association’s members decided to adopt the following communiqué:
On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, we are grateful to the banking leaders and their work who founded the Hungarian Banking Association in 1989. With the step they took, the Hungarian banking sector was able to reestablish its own advocacy group after forty years of forced suspension. In the past few decades the Hungarian Banking Association became a well-known and definitive professional advocacy institution. Its activities cover the entire financial sphere and its domestic and international involvement has become indispensable in the field of advocacy, cooperation for economic development and the raising of financial awareness. The Hungarian Banking Association has become the “voice” of the Hungarian banking sector that people expect to, from time to time, publish guiding opinions, resolutions on both domestic and international economic changes.
These days worry mixes with trust when we speak about Europe’s economic and financial developments. Despite the challenges we face, we still must represent our fundamental interest, which is for the European Union’s economy to grow, for the Union to strengthen and for all those nation states which are part of it geographically, economically and culturally to find their homes within it. It is based on sustainable economic growth that our sector’s fundamental interest is to moderate the uncertainties and detrimental consequences of BREXIT. This is also the reason why we support that our neighbors from the South should enter the EU as soon as possible. It is the common interest of the nation states of a unifying and growing European economy to play a definitive role in the development of the world economy. Here we must emphasize that the banking sector can ensure the growth of the European economy through the role it plays in individual countries and its existing liquidity. At the same time the foundations for increasing our regional and international competitiveness can only be laid down by an efficient and unified European regulatory environment.
Amidst the many extraordinary challenges of the past few years, the President of our Association, Mr. Mihály Patai, has quoted a Bible-derived expression for cyclical development several times: the seven years of famine and the seven years of plenty. The first period not only burdened the sector with many types of loss, but also, lacking the necessary sources, developments that would have been necessary lagged behind. The banking sector concluded a successful year in 2018. At the current state of the cycle, hopefully at the beginning of an upward trend, we must make up for what has been delayed both in terms of development and efficiency. This is the only way we can provide the necessary impulses to aid the development of sustainable economic growth in the age of digital transition. We cannot forget our seven years of famine, since on the one hand the true balance sheet is derived from the evaluation of both halves of the cycle, while on the other, lessons from society may greatly help new regulations to improve competitiveness, and with it, sustainable growth.
The upcoming period will concentrate on the digitalization of banking services. The entire banking sector is preparing to grant all the innovative services that can provide the customer experience through a truly safe IT interface. The banking sector is preparing to take the lead in the market as the provider of safe financial services, and the foundations for this endeavor will be its commitment to innovations, the capital power of the sector and its comprehensive experience in IT and knowledge about its customers. Today, the Hungarian banking sector is in the forefront internationally in customer safety, and this will continue to be so in the digital age. From the point of view of customer safety, it is also important that the regulator provide the same conditions and establish the same requirements for both the old and new, the classic and the innovative actors of the market.
As part of the anniversary program series, the Hungarian Banking Association’s Golden Beehive Awards were awarded to upper leaders who have played a significant role in developing the banking sector and to professionals who performed outstanding work for the Banking Association.
For their work in the banking sector:
- Mr. Włodzimierz Kiciński, Executive Vice President of the Polish Bank Association,
- Ms. Erika Kovács, Chair of the Hungarian Financial Arbitration Board,
- Mr. János Nyemcsok, General Deputy Chief Executive Officer of MKB Bank
- Mr. Jenő Siklós, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gránit Bank,
- Ms. Andrea Wéber, General Manager at CIB Bank,
- Mr. László Wolf, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of OTP Bank.
For their work at the Hungarian Banking Association:
- Ms. Erzsébet Büki, Head of Product & Sales at Oberbank,
- Mr. Zoltán Fényi, Chief Legal Counsel at Sberbank,
- Mr. Csaba Molnár, Head of Department at Raiffeisen Bank,
- Mr. Zsolt Pál, Associate Professor at the University of Miskolc,
- Mr. Szabolcs Pintér, Chief Accountant at Bank of China.
*After the Financial Leaders’ Forum at MKB Bank, OTP Bank invited the delegates from 13 countries, the government and central bank representatives and the Hungarian bank leaders to a Gala Dinner, where they were welcomed by Ms. Andrea Bártfai-Mager, Minister without Portfolio for the Development of Public Assets, and Mr. Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office. On the second day, the morning of April 5th, the sector organized an international conference with the support of OTP Bank, where Mr. Balázs Rákossy, State Secretary for the Utilization of EU Funds at the Ministry of Finance, and Mr. László Windisch, Deputy Governor of Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the Central Bank of Hungary) both held presentations. Presentations were also held by guests from the Hungarian and the international banking sectors, by Mr. Sándor Csányi, Chairman and CEO of OTP Bank, Mr. Mihály Patai, President of the Hungarian Banking Association, and Mr. Wim Mijs, Chief Executive Officer of the European Banking Federation. After this, the delegates from the European banking associations consulted on cooperation between Europe and Asia with Mr. Yang Zaiping, Secretary General of the Asian Financial Cooperation Association (AFCA).
April 5, 2019, Budapest Hungarian Banking AssociationMore details >>
October 9, 2018
How not to get caught in the phishing net
Each month over 100 people in Hungary fall victim to phishing
Although companies in the market are continually improving their security systems, customers must also be more cautious
Over 100 cases of phishing are reported in Hungary each month according to statistics by authorities and corporations. This number, however only represents a fraction of the actual frauds committed: it is estimated that the number of people who fall victim to telephone and online fraud every year is among the thousands. Domestic market actors (credit institutions, telecommunication companies and utility service providers) apply advanced defense systems against phishers and alert their customers when they realize that fraud is being committed. Still, we must always pay just as careful attention to the money on our bank accounts as to the money in our wallets. With the aid of their joint press event and statement, the Hungarian Police Headquarters, the Hungarian Banking Association and the National Cyber Security Center would like to emphasize that preventing cyber crime is a common social interest and task.More details >>
On 20 April 2018, the Hungarian Banking Association held its annual General Meeting, attended by the CEOs of financial institutions, as well as Mihály Varga, Minister for National Economy and Deputy Governors of the National Bank of Hungary: Ferenc Gerhardt.
The General Meeting commemorated Mr Zoltán Urbán, Member of the Hungarian Banking Association’s Board and former CEO of Eximbank, who had passed away tragically and unexpectedly.
The General Meeting elected Tamás Bernáth (MFB - CEO) as the new Member of the Hungarian Banking Association’s Board.
The CEOs of the Hungarian Banking Association’s member institutions have decided to issue the following statement:
We can report that after a long and difficult period following the year 2008, in 2017 the Hungarian banking sector closed an outstandingly good year. Last year’s profitability fits in with international and regional trends. The profits realised typically went into profit reserves, which, due to more intense lending activities, support the accelerating growth of the economy. The foundations of the banking sector’s positive results were laid down by the sector’s stable operation and the favourable evolution of lending costs. At the same time, keeping up with the dynamic rate of technical evolution and changing customer needs requires on-going rejuvenation, adaptation and innovation on the part of the sector’s players.
‘The banking sector can only serve the economy’s development in an economic environment offering predictable legal, taxation and governance conditions, and other economic players also expect a similar environment. Therefore, in our relationship with the legislator and the authorities, we continue to place the emphasis on co-operation and scrupulous professional discussions.’ – explained Mihály Patai, President of the Hungarian Banking Association.
All players in the Hungarian banking sector support the key joint objective of strengthening continuity and predictability in financial policy. This can ensure the successful short-term and long-term operation of businesses and creditors alike. After the dynamic utilisation of EU funds, a new era is approaching, where each economic player is compelled to find the competitive development path that will determine its future. The domestic banking sector has sufficient capital strength and liquidity for funding any necessary reorganisation and developments.
We must not forget about the international competitive situation either. In order to improve our competitiveness, it is essential that in the years ahead of us we quit the regulatory race taking place amongst European states, by overcoming bureaucratic over-regulation at national level. The achievement of this objective could be greatly helped if the legislator involved representatives of the financial sector in the preparatory process of legislation from an early stage in the regulatory process. To allow the Hungarian economy to perform well and in a sustainable way, and to facilitate its extension beyond national borders, the financing Hungarian financial institutions must reclaim and retain their regional competitiveness. Therefore, we consider the lifting of extra burdens, initially imposed as crisis management solutions, inevitable. They include
- the staged discontinuation of special taxes imposed on banks and financial institutions,
- the whitening of the economy and the reduction and eventual withdrawal of the transaction levy, which goes against the elimination of cash, including, in particular
- the abolishing of all forms of taxes and levies imposed in respect of free banking services (such as the free cash withdrawal allowance of 150 thousand HUF/month).
The Hungarian financial market is part of the European and global markets. At times when protectionist trends also threaten the Hungarian economy, the assertion of our interest can only be achieved subject to the harmonised development of the European Union and the deepening of economic integration, and therefore we are committed to these objectives. We also believe that the conclusion of Brexit negotiations in a way that allows existing economic connections to be retained, is to be commended. In terms of global bank regulations, we consider the globally consistent application of regulations desirable, to ensure that the development of the European Union’s financial system and the extension of its economy can take place free of competitive disadvantages, in a sustainable manner.
The Hungarian Banking Association traditionally grants awards to bank colleagues who have made a significant contribution to the operation and development of the banking sector, at its General Meeting. In 2018, the Hungarian Banking Association’s Golden Beehive Award was granted to:
- Bence Gáspár (OTP Bank) for his outstanding communication activities and dedication in the banking sector;
- Rita Jeges (Erste Bank) for her dedicated and constructive support for the Hungarian Banking Association’s work;
- Marcell Király (K&H Bank) for his outstanding work in the corporate financing and SME development areas of the banking sector;
- Róbert Nagy (Garantiqa Hitelgarancia) for his outstanding and innovative activities contributing to the growth of guaranteed lending to small and medium-size enterprises;
- Attila Rankó (Deutsche Bank) for his outstanding professional activities in the area of payments and in the adaptation of European banking regulations.
20 April 2018
Hungarian Banking AssociationMore details >>