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Savings coops seek closer cooperation, business model shift

Initiatives

Closer cooperation and a shift in the business model is at the heart of Hungaryʼs integrated savings cooperativesʼ new strategy, said Andrea Bártfai-Máger, the governmentʼs commissioner for postal and national financial services, at an event yesterday, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

If savings cooperatives want to compete with commercial banks, they must boost their regional cooperation and offer clients a broader product palette as well as higher quality services, Bártfai-Máger said at the event organized by savings cooperative integrator SZHISZ, Takarékbank and the National Association of Savings Cooperatives (OTSZ). Mergers can create savings cooperatives that are stronger, more successful and more transparent, which can operate profitably in the long term and support the stability of Hungaryʼs financial system, she added. 

More active lending, in addition to collecting deposits, as well as the introduction of a unified range of products, can make savings cooperatives the financial partner of choice for retail clients, businesses and local councils outside of the countryʼs biggest cities, Bártfai-Máger said. The accession of FHB Bank to the integration has given savings cooperatives their own mortgage bank, which is a significant step, she added.

József Vida, the head of SZHISZ, noted that Takarékbank and the integrated savings cooperatives are now the runner-up on Hungaryʼs banking market, on the basis of total assets.

Savings cooperativesʼ future is in good hands, as the integration is now managed only by industry insiders with a good understanding of the business, OTSZ head Sándor Demján said.

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