Savings cooperatives boycott association meeting

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A general meeting of Hungary’s National Savings Cooperative Association (OTSZ) failed to reach quorum yesterday after two-thirds of members "protested" with their absence, the head of the chairmanʼs cabinet of Takarékbank, which acts as the "central bank" for savings cooperatives, told Hungarian news agency MTI.

The 42 absent members said in a statement, which was read out loud at the meeting, that the management OTSZ was trying by all means to inhibit the integration of the countryʼs savings cooperatives, according to head of the chairmanʼs cabinet, Kornél Németh. He added that out of the 101 members only 35 were present at yesterday’s general meeting.

The members protested OTSZʼs "wasteful management", its budget for next year and the planned increases, by factors of 50 and 100, of membership fees, the news agency said, adding that they also said regulatory changes OTSZ was making were unjustified and discriminative.

The Hungarian government earlier mandated the integration of savings cooperatives to create synergy and help the sector meet stricter capital adequacy requirements. The OTSZ sued the state for compensation related to the measure, but lost.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán earlier said the Fidesz government inherited a financial system that is in “very bad condition”. In correcting this system, the first step was dealing with foreign exchange loans, the second step was stabilizing the system of savings cooperatives and the next step is dealing with brokerages, the prime minister said.

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