HIGHLIGHTS-Raiffeisen Hungary CEO on forex loan relief plans
BUDAPEST, July 26
BUDAPEST, July 26 (Reuters) - Banks in Hungary are at a critical stage and cannot suffer any new losses as the government tries to rid masses of Hungarians from foreign currency loans, Raiffesen's chief in Hungary, Heinz Wiedner told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
Following are highlights from an interview.
"I cannot exclude anything, but at least the recent statements that were made yesterday and today and in our meeting with Mr (Economy Minister Mihaly) Varga, at least indicate that we (are) looking for some solutions right now.
"There is no room on the banks' balance sheets any more after all these additional burdens that we are already taking.
"Just look at the banks' profitability in the sector, I mean clearly overall it is negative and they already faced an additional charge which was quite significant because the government was kind of miscalculating... what they would get from the transaction tax...
"Like the state, also the banks actually are at a critical stage and we are not able to suffer additional losses.
"So whatever solution we come up with has to be a solution which won't affect in any significant way neither the state budget nor the banks' profitability.
"But also there is not a one-off, one single ideal solution because if it was so simple then we would have found it already.
"This should be the discussion among both parties in the next months to see whether we can come up with something that is a situation that is both bearable for the government and for the banks, and in the end for the customers.
"I hope this one (relief package) is the last one. This definitely should be the last attempt.
"There is a relation whether we like it or not depending on the burden that is brought on the banks again. An additional burden that will cause a loss to the banking sector signifies that banks have less capital available. You can either bring in capital from the owners or reduce lending capacity.
"If I look at the history since I am here in this country unfortunately I have to say there is still a doubt obviously that whatever we discuss and agree will actually hold.
"In the end it will probably be a political decision, but let's hope that this time they mean it but obviously I cannot be sure about it." (Reporting by Sandor Peto and Gergely Szakacs)