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HBW Express Bank transforms into community bank

Hungary's HBW Express Bank has transformed into a community savings bank called MagNet Hungarian Civic Bank, chairman Zsolt Fáy said at a press conference on Thursday.

The bank's depositors will have far more say on lending than at “conventional” banks, Fáy said. The bank will also give a special place to investments involving organic farming, green energy, environmental protection and R&D, as well as ones that create jobs or serve social aims, he added.

Depositors will decide each quarter on the interest rate on their deposits, to be between 0.5% and 5%. The bank will lend with an interest margin of three percentage points.

The bank will pay 10% of its annual profits to a foundation or civil organization to be decided by depositors, CEO János Salamon said.

Last year, HBW had after-tax profit of HUF 440 million, up from HUF 293 million in 2008. The bank's total assets jumped to HUF 53 billion by the end of the year from HUF 35.2 billion twelve months earlier. Spanish peer Caja Navarra, a pioneer in “civic banking”, owns 30% of MagNet. (MTI-Econews)