Forex-loan conversion could be mandatory

MNB

In a preview for an extensive interview appearing in today’s print version of Heti Valasz, National Economy Ministry State Secretary Gábor Orbán delivered at least one compelling statement which is being interpreted as meaning that a bailout plan for forex-based mortgages could well be mandatory for all borrowers.

Orbán told the local news media outlet that “all [forex-based loan] debtors will be required to make use of the relief package begin drawn up,” but backed away a bit immediately in saying that special exceptions could be made.

The secretary also mentioned that the current plan, which would involve support from the central government and the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), calls for the conversion of about $8 billion (HUF 1.796 trillion) in outstanding forex-based loans into forints.

According to MNB statistics released yesterday, forex-based mortgage assets of local banks totaled HUF 3.525 trillion in over 500,000 contracts; of this total, HUF 1.828 was in home loans in 222,000 contracts. Non-performing forex-based mortgage loans accounted for HUF 731 billion, or 21%, of the total.

“Although the government is clearly on the debtors’ side,” said Orbán, “you cannot risk the stability of the financial system in the midst of saving foreign currency debt.”

Orbán also commented on other topics in the interview; in responding to a question regarding the drop in reserves after IMF loans were repaid ahead of term, he hinted that “the Government Debt Management Company [ÁKK] will be issuing dollar bonds on international markets later this year.” Orbán opined that such a bond issue would be necessary for rebuilding reserves.

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