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One-third of HUF loans to cover FX repayments come from savings cooperatives

Hungary’s savings cooperatives have provided about one-third of the forint loans Hungarian borrowers are using to participate in an early foreign currency-based mortgage repayment scheme, the National Association of Savings Cooperatives (OTSZ) said on Thursday.

Savings cooperatives lent a combined HUF 40bn to borrowers to make the early repayments from the time the scheme started at the end of September 2011 until January 20.

Savings cooperatives share of total outlays to cover the repayments rose from 17% of the total, or HUF 380m, in October, to 25%, or HUF 4bn, in November, and to 28%, or HUF 20.6bn, in December.

Under the government scheme, Hungarian borrowers may repay, in full, their forex mortgages at discounted exchange rates, leaving lenders to cover the difference with market rates. Borrowers had until the end of December to declare their intent to participate in the scheme, and they must make the repayment by the end of February.

Savings cooperatives expect their campaign to attract borrowers who wished to avail of the scheme will raise their share of Hungary’s retail lending market from about 5%.

Within retail lending, savings cooperatives had just 1.5% of the market for forex mortgages. About 10% of this stock was repaid at savings cooperatives as part of the scheme, about the same proportion as at banks.

Savings cooperatives are expected to make a HUF 2bn loss on the scheme and some cooperatives could close 2011 in the red. But the new clients gained should offset the one-off loss in the long term, OTSZ said.