The Hungarian Banking Association held its Annual General Meeting earlier today. At the meeting, Mihály Varga, Minister of Finance, informed participants about the state of the Hungarian economy and the budgetary outlook, while Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), informed participants about current monetary policy challenges. Anikó Túri, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, summarised the challenges of economic development going ahead. At the General Meeting, the Hungarian Banking Association held a general election - electing a new Board, Supervisory Board and Ethics Committee. At the General Meeting, the membership decided to publish the following statement.
The Russia-Ukraine war that broke out in 2022 has fundamentally shifted the tasks of the European community. The war in our neighbourhood has resulted in a mass influx of refugees into the European Union, an energy crisis and, in large part as a result of these, a level of inflation unseen for decades. The Government responded to the higher interest rates prevailing on the market by introducing an interest rate freeze in respect of several loan types in 2022, which, although not supported by the Hungarian Banking Association, was responsibly implemented by the banking sector.The Banking Association's position in this matter has not changed: we see the interest rate freeze in its current form as a measure that is holding back bank lending, slowing economic growth and weakening financial awareness, and thus we call for its lifting.
The Ministry of Finance is contributing to the reduction of the rate of inflation by tightening fiscal policy, while the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) is raising interest rates. The Ministry of Economic Development is trying to bring new momentum into the Hungarian economy by boosting investment. The Hungarian Banking Association welcomes the steps taken to curb inflation, as well as targeted interest rate subsidised lending schemes and the allowing of market conditions to prevail, which together can contribute to fast economic recovery.
However, in order to catch up with the advanced economies of the European Union and to achieve sustainability, an actively lending Hungarian banking sector is indispensable. However, the interest rate freeze and the extra tax burden on banks make it impossible for financial institutions to raise the capital required for this. The burden on the banking sector must be reduced to allow steps of substance to be taken on market terms, to facilitate convergence. This is the only way for the Hungarian banking sector, in co-operation with the Government and the Central Bank, to become an engine of economic growth. As a result of this co-operation, the capital market can evolve further, along with the country's international weight and its ability to attract capital.
The banking industry continues to witness a strong proliferation of digital solutions; however, certain regulatory measures continue to preserve the prominent role of cash. The banking sector is actively pursuing the digital switchover in line with international trends, in co-operation with numerous relevant authorities and Governments. One of the key current challenges is the improvement of digital security. To this end, the Hungarian Banking Association has launched the CyberShield programme, supported by a comprehensive communication campaign.
At the General Meeting, awards were also presented based on the achievements of the past year. The winners of the Golden Beehive Award are as follows:
Orsolya Haller - CIB Bank
Péter Hidvégi - Raiffeisen Bank
Zoltán Illés - Duna Takarék Bank
István Lengyel - BAACE
Balázs Nagy - Garantiqa Hitelgarancia
Éva Schadl - Erste Bank
In addition, 11 people have been invited to take up the position of Chair in the Hungarian Banking Association’s Working Groups, following the presentation of their letters of appointment.
As a result of the general re-election of officials, the membership of the Hungarian Banking Association has elected the following members for the Hungarian Banking Association’s governing bodies for the next three years:
Board: President: Radován Jelasity (Erste Bank Zrt.), Vice President: András Becsei (OTP Mortgage Bank Ltd.), Board Member representing small and medium-sized banks: Éva Hegedüs (Granit Bank Ltd), Board Members: Zsolt Barna (MBH Bank Ltd.), Pál Simák (CIB Bank Ltd.), Balázs Tóth (UniCredit Bank Hungary Ltd), György Zolnai (Raiffeisen Bank Ltd.),
Supervisory Board: Chair: Guy Libot (K&H Bank Ltd.), Deputy Chair: Veronika Spanarova (Citibank Europe plc. Hungarian Branch Office), Supervisory Board Members: Tibor Bodor (ING Bank N.V. Hungarian Branch Office), Ágnes Erdős (Bank of China Limited Hungarian Branch Office), Zsolt Selmeczi-Kovács (Giro Ltd.),
Ethics Committee: Chair: Henrik Auth
Budapest, 19 May 2023.