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Govt could tie 50-70% bank levy write-off to increased lending activity

Hungarian banks could be allowed to write off 50-70% of the bank levy against increased lending activity under measures being considered by the National Economy Ministry, daily Népszabadság said on Tuesday. A source from governing Fidesz told the paper the write-off could reach as much as 70%, but 50% would be more realistic. The government said earlier it would offer banks incentives to boost lending activity. Népszabadság said representatives of the government and the Hungarian Banking Association met to discuss such incentives in the last days of December. The paper said the government was ready to "consolidate" its relationship with the banking sector and could take concrete steps in the spring, around the time the mandate of the National Bank of Hungary's current governor, András Simor, ends.