Takarékbank chairman: Nationalization a “fantasy”

Initiatives

The state will say the savings cooperative business only until the system has undergone the necessary renewal and re-capitalization, Tamás Vojnits, the recently-elected chairman of Takarékbank, the “central bank” for savings cooperatives, told MTI on Friday. Vojnits called any speculation about later nationalization a “fantasy,” adding that the state's acquisition of an indirect majority stake in Takarékbank could not be called expropriation.

Savings cooperatives have been and will remain under private ownership; they do business at their own risk and their owners take dividends if they are profitable, he said. Takarékbank's shareholders, mostly savings cooperatives, approved the de facto takeover of the bank by the state through a capital raise at a general meeting on Tuesday.

The move was part of a government initiative to integrate savings cooperatives with the aim of creating synergy and meeting stricter European Union capital adequacy requirements. The initiative gives Takarékbank the power to determine standards for risk management, business policy and strategy for all savings cooperatives that are members of the integration. 

The restructuring of the savings cooperative sector was necessary because their cooperation until now has not been strong enough, Vojnits said. Improving the operation of the sector will be good for the whole country and will result in the faster return of taxpayer money, he said, adding that the state has “certain expectations” related to the operation of the sector, which are spelled out in the new charters of savings cooperatives and Takarékbank.

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