Banking association establishes position on transactions duty for talks with govt

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The Hungarian Banking Association has established their position on a planned financial transactions duty and will present it to the government in days, association chairman Mihály Patai told journalists on Wednesday.

An agreement among members on the association\'s negotiating position was reached late Tuesday, Patai said. Proposals were made that would reduce the burden on banks to levels agreed on with the government last December, he added.

We have a concrete, written negotiating directive that will come before the government in the coming days, he said.

He said the association had appointed a four-member negotiating delegation headed by deputy chairman Dániel Gyuris and including the CEOs of Raiffeisen, K&H and FHB.

Patai said he was certain that an agreement could be reached on conditions for introducing the duty in the course of several rounds of talks with the government.

Patai said the transactions duty was unavoidable, as it had been decided on by the government. For banks\' part, the wise solution is to try to find a compromise with the government, but only with regard to a reduced burden, he added.

If the banking sector is burdened to this degree for the third year in a row, it will prevent lending from picking up in Hungary, which is in neither the interest of banks nor the government, he said.

Patai said the association would not negotiate the scale of the duty, as the government is set on a rate of 0.1%. But he added they would press for an upper threshold for individual transactions.

The association could conceive of other types of duties on things such as cash exchanged between companies rather than bank transfers, he said. It could also see making it mandatory for all companies and private individuals to open bank accounts in the interest of \"whitening\" the shadow economy, he added.

He said that these were starting negotiating positions that pointed beyond the transaction duty.

The association agreed with the government last December that the sector would take on a HUF 60 billion burden in 2013, he noted. \"That is the upper limit that we will be able to bear, and we have to be able to agree on this scale with the government,\" he said.

Patai said a compromise could still be found. If the government needs HUF 100 billion-150 billion, the burdens could be structured to affect the banking sector proportionally, affecting those that can bear them, he added.

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