Press Releases

2021. September 16.

Press Release by the Hungarian Banking Association on the extension of the credit moratorium and the settlement of interest in respect of credit cards and overdraft facilities

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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2021. July 06.

Announcement of the Hungarian Banking Association concerning the payment moratorium

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.

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2021. May 26.

Announcement following the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association

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 Association

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2021. May 13.

PRESS RELEASE - Recommendation and call for boosting vaccination rates for the benefit of the economy

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.

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2021. April 21.

Hungarian student triumphs over all of Europe thanks to her financial knowledge

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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2021. March 25.

Have you received a notification informing you that a package is about to be delivered to your home? BEWARE! Fraudsters are trying to access our confidential data through text messages

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.

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2021. March 05.

MONEY WEEK has reached over 170 thousand students in 2021

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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2020. November 11.

Co-operation agreement signed for the 2020/21 academic year, aiming to boost the financial and business knowledge of students

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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2020. October 16.

GOOD DEED Bank is closing the week with nice results

PRESS RELEASE

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 suto.agnes@bankszovetseg.hu or on +36 70 9381609

 

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2020. October 14.

Voluntary blood donation - also during the pandemic

PRESS RELEASE

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 suto.agnes@bankszovetseg.hu or on +36 70 9381609

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2020. October 12.

New bank on the Hungarian market - information provided by the Hungarian Banking Association about the GOOD DEED Bank programme

PRESS RELEASE

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 suto.agnes@bankszovetseg.hu or on +36 70 9381609.

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2020. May 22.

Hungarian Banking Association about the General Meeting

Hungarian Banking Association
PRESS RELEASE
May 22nd 2020
 
 
Minister of Finance Mihály Varga welcomed the participants of the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association through a video message. The General Meeting was held on May 22, 202 and new officers were elected. 
 
Minister Mihály Varga emphasized that the Hungarian banking sector developed at a good pace before the health crisis; for financial institutions, 2019 was one of the best performing years of the decade. In his words: thanks to this, the Hungarian banking sector managed to continue operating smoothly even during the emergency and banks were able to respond immediately to and in support of the introduction of the loan moratorium and the raising of the limit of contactless payments. The Minister emphasized that these past times have proved that they can depend on the Banking Association not just when the economy is going well, but in more difficult times as well, adding that Hungarian economic policy will continue to prioritize the interests of the Hungarian economy, and therefore, Hungarian financial institutions can count on the government. 
 
Following this, the professional organization which fully represents the activities of financial institutions with its 50 members held its meeting. During the meeting they decided on publishing the following communiqué, which contains their current positions on several matters: 
 
Communique issued by the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association
 
Today, due to the COVID-19 virus emergency, the Hungarian Banking Association held its annual ordinary General Meeting via video conference, which was also a leadership election meeting, due to the expiration of the 3-year terms of office. Minister of Finance Mihály Varga presented an assessment of the economic situation, and greeted the participants of the General Meeting in a video message. On this occasion, Members of the Hungarian Banking Association decided to publish the following position in current economic matters.
 
The global measures taken in the first half of 2020 with a view to addressing the emergency caused by the COVID-19 virus and protecting human life, clearly marked the end of an economic cycle. Thus, after the financial crisis of 2008, we are again witnessing a general economic downturn, as a result of the emergency. The health issue behind the crisis has led to a number of previously unseen economic phenomena, and has caused the partial or total cessation of production or services in several sectors. Due to the unprecedented nature of the root cause, there are no proven, experience-based approaches available for managing and resolving the crisis.
 
One of the key foundations of the economic policy measures of governments is a well-capitalised and adaptable banking sector, which, under normal economic conditions, ensures predictable economic development, and, in situations similar to what we are witnessing today, warrants economic stability, in accord with appropriate government measures. The Hungarian banking sector, in cooperation with the government, was among the first to offer significant assistance to all borrowing private individuals and enterprises through the loan repayment moratorium. As a result of co-operation with the Government and the Central Bank of Hungary, we can also offer additional important means of support to economic players that aid the survival and recovery of the economy. The additional responsibilities we face, including the on-going provision of financial services to customers day-by-day, in spite of the limitations imposed due to the emergency, require both perseverance and innovative adaptability from us.
 
Hungary has had a stable and reliable banking sector for quite some time. Hungarian banks are active participants in the world of international finance, and serve as a solid foundation to the national economy. The capital position of banks has strengthened in recent years, and they have carried out a comprehensive digital modernization effort, also preparing for foreseeable risks. These achievements now offer an important safety net during the virus threat.
As more and more employees are forced to work from home and distance learning spreads due to the crisis, the digital and IT awareness of Hungarian society is also improving significantly. In the field of finance, the instant payment system was successfully launched in early March, and the use of contactless bank cards and online banking services has by now become ubiquitous. We believe that the digital switchover can be further accelerated, and the 22-point digitalisation proposal of the Banking Association serves as a good guideline for this in the financial sector. We believe that the goals identified in the document can be successfully achieved by bringing together the Government, the Central Bank, commercial banks and all relevant institutions and organisations.
 
Countries around the world are adopting a variety of health and new economic approaches to address the challenges brought about by emergency scenarios. The consequences make global economic relations and impacts more complex. In this situation, economic sectors that produce higher added value and are able to adapt quickly, and countries that are able to develop such sectors fast can get ahead of the pack.
 
When it comes to Hungary, we must emphasise that the open economy that has emerged in recent decades has by now become an inescapable fact. Being a member of the European Union, our natural relationship network is sited in the economies of member states. At the same time, the policy of opening up towards the East also offers promising results. Our existing relations with our historical partners, the Visegrád 4 countries and nations in the Balkans are important as well. Here, existing links can be substantially enhanced, as crisis/change is always also an opportunity. Our sector is also committed to financing investments and to expanding co-operation in this area. 
 
At the General Meeting, we also handed over the Golden Beehive Awards, which reflect the results achieved over the past years.
 
Recipients of the Golden Beehive Award:
Lajos Bartha (MNB) and Zsolt Selmeczi-Kovács (GIRO) for their key efforts in developing and launching the Instant Payment System.
Zoltán Marosi (Oppenheim Law Firm) and Levente Molnár (Oppenheim Law Firm) for their outstanding work in providing legal representation to and supporting the financial sector.
Anna Florova (OTP Bank) for the successful launch and management of the Family Subsidies Working Group.
 
New leadership members of the Hungarian Banking Association, elected at the General Meeting: 
 
President: Jelasity Radován, Chairman and CEO, ERSTE Bank
Vice-President: András Becsei, CEO, OTP Mortgage Bank
Board Members:
- Éva Hegedüs, Chairman and CEO, Gránit Bank (as representative of small banks)
- Éva Búza, CEO, Garantiqa, Hitelgarancia,
- Pál Simák, Chairman and CEO, CIB Bank, 
- József Vida, Chairman and CEO, Takarékbank, 
- György Zolnai, CEO, Raiffeisen Bank.
 
Supervisory Board:
Chairman: David Moucheron, CEO, K&H Bank 
Vice-Chairman: Tibor Gáspár, Director, Raiffeisen Bank
Supervisory Board Members:
- Bálint Csere, Managing Director, OTP Bank
- Zoltán Fényi, Head of Legal, Sberbank
- Roland Szugyiczki, Director, MKB Bank.
 
Ethics Committee:
Chairman: Henrik, Auth, Economist
 
Today in Hungary, all authoritative entities speak highly of the performance of our banks in this unprecedented crisis situation. The prestige of our sector is growing substantially, and it is a great honour to be able to thank the banking community on behalf of the entire society for its service to the country and its exemplary conduct.
 
In his speech at the General Meeting, András Becsei emphasized that adapting to changes has become part of a normal workday. Thanks to the stability, organized nature, and experience of the banking sphere, it has managed to tackle the obstacles so far posed by the current crisis, and thus remains an active and helpful partner of the population and enterprises. Special thanks go to all colleagues – they have performed incredible feats in the recent past. In the past years, after the 2008 economic crisis came to an end, the banking sector demonstrated stable growth. However, it is important to note that one-time, non-Hungarian items played a defining role in the years of plenty from 2016 to 2019, and the years of famine are now expected to arrive. 
 
Furthermore, our sector bears one of the heaviest tax burdens of Europe. Without a doubt, open dialogs need to continue between customers, the government, the supervisor, and banks. We have always been and always will be reliable partners in this. There are many tasks ahead of us still, we must continue and further accelerate our steps towards digitalization in collaboration with the Government and the Central Bank of Hungary, as this is what our customers expect of us, and this is the interest of the national economy. 
 
On behalf of members, the newly elected Board of the Hungarian Banking Association and the Secretary General expressed their gratitude to retiring president András Becsei, for his successful leadership during an extremely challenging nearly full year. András Becsei helped the banking sector achieve significant results during the time he served as temporary president, helping to improve the capacity for digitalization, prepare for the instant payments system, manage the current emergency, and develop international relations, to mention a few. 
 
They also expressed their gratitude to Kevin A. Murray, Chief Executive Officer for Central Europe and Country Head for Hungary at Citibank. Mr. Murray received the Golden Beehive Medallion Award for his work as Chairman of the Foreign Bankers’ Club. 
 
In his first speech as President of the Hungarian Banking Association, the newly elected Radován Jelasity said: “COVID-19 does not just pose economic challenges, it is also a challenge for civilization, for all of us. Still, I believe in the catalyzing and positive economic role of the banking sector. I am dedicated towards dialog, and towards joint solutions that are acceptable to all. The banking sector is not only a vital part of the economy, but also serves as its mirror: a stable and strong banking sector cannot exist without a robust economy, just as a robust economy cannot exist with a strong banking sector.”
The stated long-term intention of the new president is to strengthen customers’ trust in the sector, to improve the international popularity and the domestic reputation of the Hungarian banking community, as well as to sustain collaboration with regulatory authorities. 
He believes that it is his duty together with the Board to define the priorities of the banking sector. As regards current priorities, he emphasized the quick and efficient implementation of economic programs launched by the government and the central bank (MNB). The banking sector is an active supporter of the programs to restart the economy, as they aim to help customers get through the economic difficulties brought on by COVID-19 and thus give a new push to the entire economy. We must evaluate the experiences gained from this health emergency. The openness of the government and MNB to accelerate the introduction of several points of the digitalization proposal package paves the way forward. Another goal remains reducing the special tax burdens on banks in order to restore the regional competitiveness of the sector. 
The newly elected president concluded his speech by highly praising the colleagues of the banking sector, who, through their tireless efforts, have made it possible to provide continued customer service, to sustain business continuity, and to ensure the undisrupted flow of payments in the past few months, even under changed circumstances. 
 
 
 
Budapest, May 22, 2020 The Hungarian Banking Association
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2020. March 19.

HBA PRESS STATEMENT on the lending moratorium

HUNGARIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION 

PRESS STATEMENT

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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2019. June 26.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Hungarian.

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2019. June 17.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Hungarian.

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2019. June 13.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Hungarian.

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2019. April 05.

Communication of the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association

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.

Award recipients:

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 Association

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2019. March 07.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Hungarian.

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2018. October 16.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Hungarian.

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2018. October 09.

How not to get caught up in the web of fraudsters

PRESS MATERIALS

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.

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2018. April 20.

Communiqué by the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association

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:

Communiqué

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 Association

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