Statement issued by the General Meeting of the Hungarian Banking Association
On May 12 ,2017 the Hungarian Banking Association held its annual General Meeting, which, next to the CEOs of financial institutions, also hosted guests Ágnes Hornung, Secretary of State at the Ministry for National Economy and the Deputy Governors of the National Bank of Hungary. At the General Meeting, elections were held for each member of the management.
The CEO’s of the Hungarian Banking Association’s member institutions have decided upon issuing the following statement:
We can report about the year 2016 with confidence that the positive signs of a turning trend are already showing, which can be a stabilising, what’s more, invigorating factor in the growth of the local economy.
This is of special significance, given the fact that the financial sector has been suffering significant losses since 2008. As a result, internal cost levels were reduced to exceptional levels. At the same time, cost-cutting was marked by the transaction levy, booked as cost, as well as the exceptionally high level of special taxes. In the last decade, this went hand-in-hand with the inevitable postponement of numerous investments.
In 2016, the improvement of the economy in general, along with market recovery, created a one-off opportunity to cut back on bank provisions. The sale of card company stocks and dividends originating from foreign markets created revenues that were significant at sector level, but were also one-time or unique in nature.
’In response to market and innovation challenges, in the following years the banking sector will implement significant IT developments and investments. At the same time, banks will also have to maintain tight cost control, which will result in moderate growth even in the medium term, falling significantly short of the European average.’ – explained Mihály Patai, (RETIRING/RE-ELECTED) President of the Hungarian Banking Association.
The activities of the banking sector are characterised by a constructive evaluation of past events and a positive outlook, as well as intense competition not only on the domestic market but also in an international context. Hungary’s international position and its regional significance require the extension of both production and international co-operation, for which the banking sector can provide the development resources required. At the same time, the bilateral confidence structure of financing necessitates the reinstatement of the banking sector’s reputation, which is the responsibility of all decision-makers. To be able to support the fast and plannable development of the economy, financing entities also need a predictable regulatory environment. This involves the reduction of special taxes to European levels, the abolition of the transaction levy and the drafting of legislation offering mortgage lenders the possibility to enforce their rights in an appropriate manner. The latter requires that changes are based on impact analyses, and are pre-planned and pre-agreed.
Digitalisation changes the services offered by financial institutions at an unprecedented rate. The costs of digitalisation developments will stay with the banking sector as key cost items for many years to come, while the effects of income / cost reduction will only be felt in the longer run. Digital progression can only be achieved in a safe manner if developments take place to the extent of real customer requirements, and in line with any changes in these. For this, as a core condition, we rely on deeper and more intense professional co-operation in both the Hungarian and European legislative process, and also in banking supervisory activities. We believe that human resources essential for such developments can be ensured by reducing bureaucracy and the administrative burden.
World economy is undergoing a process of change, and new challenges are diverse. It is the partnership and financial co-operation of the European Union and the North American economic zone – the world’s two most developed economic regions – that will ensure appropriate living standards and offer the possibility of on-going development. Therefore, boosting the international role the European Union plays is in our shared interest – and therefore is also in the interests of Hungary. Over the past years, the financial role of China has taken on a new dimension, while Russia’s influence in world matters has not diminished. By showing mutual respect for our differing historical development paths and cultures, we will see further economic and financial opportunities open, on the grounds of dialogue and shared interests. The continued organic development of the global economy and financial markets requires that key representatives of the world economy work in close co-operation. This can be significantly helped by international bank groups with a long tradition, which pursue intense activities in key countries of the world, and also locally, in Hungary.
As representatives of our sector, we must take a position on the direction and speed of Europe’s economic progression. International bank groups serve the entire European retail and business clientele along the same principles and in the same quality, also taking local requirements into consideration This also proves that Continental Europe can only be a strong, influential and stable area from an economic and financial aspect if it can ensure that and reduce, and in the long term eliminate the economic disparity still hindering progress. European international bank groups can facilitate this economic progress, which helps the elimination of disparity in the long term, by collecting funds, facilitating money flows and offering credit. In doing so, they have shared interests with financial institutions in Hungarian ownership, which also offer services to European standards, motivated by the sustainable development of Hungary, which is both their objective and a pre-condition to their existence.
The Hungarian Banking Association elects a new management once every three years, for which the time has come at the present General Meeting. At the General Meeting the Hungarian Banking Association HAS ELECTED XY AS ITS PRESIDENT/re-elected Mihály Patai, as its President; and HAS ELECTED/RE-ELECTED XY/András Becsei as its Vice President; XY/Henrik Auth as Chairman of its Ethical Committee. For the next three years, the following Board Members have been elected: XY/ Éva Hegedűs, Radovan Jelasity, Pál Simák, Zoltán Urbán, György Zolnai /XY.
It is by now a tradition that the Hungarian Banking Association recognises banking and partner colleagues who have made a significant contribution to the operation and development of the banking sector. In 2017 the Hungarian Banking Association’s Golden Beehive Award was granted to the following recipients:
• Anna Batka (Hungarian Banking Association) – for her dedicated management of the accounting, taxation and data reporting work groups over more than a decade,
• dr. Attila Bógyi (OTP Mortgage Bank) – for his active and outstanding activities in the legislative process affecting the banking sector,
• Zoltán Makó (Riot Police; National Bureau of Investigation) – for his outstandingly effective efforts in preventing and combating bank card fraud,
• Gyöngyi Németh Szűcs (Unicredit Bank) – for her outstanding efforts in the area of accounting regulations,
• Gábor Weissmüller (Citibank) – for his high-quality professional contribution to the prevention and combating of financial fraud.
Budapest, May 12, 2017
Hungarian Banking Association