About 3,000 people have called the National Asset Manager’s (NET) hotline to inquire about participation in a programme for distressed borrowers, NET spokesperson Edit Ternyak told MTI.
NET was recently established to purchase the homes of distressed borrowers from banks and allow residents to remain as renters.
About one-fourth of the hotline calls came from residents in the capital and 15% were from the Pest County, Ms Ternyak said.
Eligibility for the NET programme will be determined by lenders, she explained. The first requirement for participation is that borrowers’ homes must be picked by the bank to be put up for auction, she added.
OTP Bank, Hungary’s biggest commercial lender, and its factoring unit OTP Faktoring have informed 957 clients who are behind on payments that they will foreclose on their homes and put them up for auction, the bank told MTI.
Other big Hungarian banks told MTI they had also started informing clients of foreclosures but declined to reveal any further details.
Under an agreement reached earlier with the government, Hungarian banks may only foreclose on 3% of non-performing loans in their retail mortgage portfolios in the first quarter.
NET is expected to buy about 5,000 homes, but the government will closely watch the programme and could make changes based on a review in six months, state secretary for asset policy Sara Nemes Hegman said in December.
Borrowers have 30 days after they are informed by their bank of their eligibility to participate in the NET programme to obtain the necessary documents and sign a declaration of intent on the sale of their property.
Fresh data from PSZAF show there were 144,382 non-performing retail mortgages in the portfolios of Hungarian banks at the end of October or 11.58% of the total retail mortgage portfolio. The non-performing stock reached HUF 983.2bn or 13.2% of all retail mortgages outstanding.