Banking assoc doesn't support mortgage rate freeze

Banking

The Hungarian Banking Association on Thursday said it does not support a temporary government freeze of mortgage loan interest rates, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

"The Banking Association cannot support the temporary interest rate freeze, to the detriment of the Hungarian banking sector, for clients who decided to take out riskier, floating-rate loans in spite of several warnings to the contrary," the professional body said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Wednesday that the government decided to freeze interest rates on mortgages, at end-October levels, until the end of June 2022.

The association said it had "learnt with surprise" about the measure on Wednesday.

It noted that Hungarian lenders, in cooperation with the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), have in recent years offered to switch clients' floating-rate credit to fixed-rate loans, drawing attention to the benefits of fixed-rate loans in public forums and among their clients.

The association pointed to the banking sector's "contribution to pandemic defense" in the form of paying a sectoral tax and participating in a repayment moratorium that extended for a longer period than any other one in Europe.

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