OTP CEO comments on forex loans, Takarékbank, Lázár

History

In an interview broadcast on ATV last night, OTP Bank CEO Sándor Csányi provided some insight into the forex-based loan issue as well as the government’s recent restructuring of saving co-operatives under a new Takarékbank charter and his war of words with János Lázár. 

The costs of converting the previously-issued forex-based loans into Hungarian currency would cost OTP HUF 300 billion alone, according to Csányi’s figures; this is in line with Hungarian Banking Association (MBSz) Chairman Mihály Patai’s assertion of last week that banks may be expected to pay out “several hundred billion forints over a period of several years.”

The OTP CEO promised that his bank would weather the storm, however, and “would survive” any such conversion. Csányi went on to chide the “hysteria” surrounding the issue.

Csányi also called out certain public officials, stating the 73% of MPs who had received forex-based loans subsequently “took advantage of a temporary scheme that allowed early repayment at discounted exchange rates” – a scenario that shows the “moral situation of Hungary’s public life” which in turn puts the country at a “competitive disadvantage.”

As for Takarékbank, of which the central government recently acquired a majority stake via Magyar Posta, Csányi stated that current law calls for temporary ownership only, echoing comments from Takarékbank Chairman Tamás Vojnits made on Friday. Should shares in Takarékbank become available, OTP would certainly be interested, said Csányi.

Finally, the question of infighting with Prime Minister’s Office State Secretary János Lázár came up. While Csányi mentioned that a lawsuit charging defamation of character was still being pursued against Lázár, he also stated that he would no longer “sink to the level of that debate.” Both will settle their differences like gentlemen out of the public eye, Csányi promised.

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