It is in the interest of all economic actors to recover from the economic recession. The banking sector is well prepared to play its core role in this process, including, in particular, the preservation of trust in financial markets and among investors, while continuing to fight inflation and fund the economy in a sustainable way.
At their meeting on Monday, Márton Nagy, Minister of Economic Development and the Board of the Hungarian Banking Association reviewed the financial and economic challenges ahead. They covered tasks related to lending, which serve as a pre-requisite to economic development; the preservation of Hungary’s attractiveness as an investment target and possible steps to curb inflation. To successfully achieve these, the Hungarian Banking Association is also calling for the acceleration of the process of removing cash from the economy and of digital transition. As a market effect, the moderation of inflation and the expected reduction in reference and lending rates will also contribute to the expansion of lending, which is a natural driver of economic growth.
The financial resilience of the banking sector is best reflected by its audited financial results. The audited net profit to equity ratio of the entire Hungarian banking sector stood at 4.0% in 2020, 8.7% in 2021 and 7.3% in 2022, which is far below Hungarian interest rate levels, the long-term (beyond one year) return expectations of savers and investors, as well as public perception. We will find out the audited financial results of 2023 in the spring of next year, which, by then, will reflect the economic results and the geopolitical impact of the full year. The shareholders of banks have provided and will continue to provide thousands of billions of HUF worth of capital to develop the Hungarian economy, while, in these challenging years, getting back a smaller share of expected profits in return for their investment and dedication compared to other industries. Preserving the capital strength of the banking sector is the key to future economic development.
The banking sector is convinced that the fast establishment of a regulatory framework for the digital era, the lending activity of a liquid banking sector and a competition-wise neutral market environment, which includes the lifting of interest rate freezes and the phasing out of the windfall tax, which, in turn, severely hampers international competitiveness, can together accelerate the growth of the Hungarian economy, and strengthen its regional role. In the spirit of collaboration, the Hungarian Banking Association is committed to the financial and economic growth of the country, and thus supports the Government's efforts to this end, including the initiatives of the Ministry of Economic Development.
26 September 2023 Hungarian Banking Association