2018. november 06. 15:25

Economic Committee Must Examine Hungarian National Bank’s Role in Foreign Currency Loans

Economic Committee Must Examine Hungarian National Bank’s Role in Foreign Currency Loans
MSZP initiates that Parliament’s Economic Committee examine the responsibility of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) in foreign currency lending and why the central bank did not intervene when it saw the problems.

At a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday, the party's parliamentary representative Attila Mesterházy reminded those present that according to the 2013 Central Bank Act, the core duty of MNB 'is to protect the interests of the recipients of services provided by financial organizations, thus, it has a consumer protection role, too.

A sound recording was also played at the press conference, of which the politician claimed that it was made at a 2015 lecture of MNB vice president Márton Nagy at ELTE University. With regards to foreign currency loans, the vice president said there had been no significant swings in the forint exchange rate until 2008, and banks had not provided adequate information on the risks.

Mesterházy warned that people are losing court cases to date due to a former statement from the Central Bank that it was not possible to determine the direction the exchange rate was going. Banks are thus able to escape responsibility, he pointed out.    

“If MNB had initiated proceedings for inappropriate disclosure, there would be proof that the banks had misled people and the current eviction of many people could have been avoided,” he stressed.

Deputy chairman of MSZP László Szakács stated that they demand that MNB act on these matters. He said they were requesting information from the Central Bank on how many public interest lawsuits they have filed and how many of these they have won against banks so far. He stressed that if they were to reply that they had done nothing, it could be declared that the central bank is not independent: it is in the pockets of the banks.

In response to a question, Szakács explained that before 2013 the Financial Supervisory Authority (PSZÁF) supervised financial institutions, however, in 2013, they merged with MNB. Since then, there have been broker scandals, foreign exchange scandals, he elaborated, concluding that this was all due to the fact that the Central Bank was not prepared to carry out its interest protection duties.    

Leader of the Debtors Movement József Szabó said that banks had in fact deceived debtors in Hungary therefore they would start a nationwide campaign to call foreign currency debtors' attention to this matter.