Savings banks plan to boost lending to SMEs

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Hungary’s savings banks, in which the state now has a majority stake, plan to at least double lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in coming years as part of a government drive to boost economic growth, Takarékbank chairman Tamás Vojnits said yesterday.

In an interview with Reuters, Vojnits said the sector was taking advantage of the central bank’s Funding for Growth scheme to increase its market share in loans.

According to Vojnits, savings banks used 14% of the HUF 750 billion in funds available in the first leg of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) program, which after its recent expansion is now worth up to HUF 2,750 billion (€9.4 billion).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz-KDNP coalition-led government took control of the savings bank sector earlier this year and overhauled it with measures including a minimum capital injection of HUF 100 billion.

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