Press Releases

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.

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2019. June 17.

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2019. June 13.

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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.

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2018. October 16.

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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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