BUDAPEST Aug 22 Hungary's Budapest Municipal
Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit brought by a small savings
bank to challenge a new law mandating refunds to loan clients,
news agency MTI reported.
The refunds, which the government says are to compensate
clients for past unfair lending practices, could cost the bank
sector in Hungary up to 900 billion forints ($3.81 billion), the
central bank has estimated.
The bank, Kethely es Videke Savings and Loan Cooperative, is
the first of dozens of banks which have brought such cases to
court before a deadline to file such challenges expires on Aug.
25. The bank can appeal the ruling.
All of the country's biggest banks have filed individual
challenges to the law, the court said this week. The first major
bank to challenge the law will be the local unit of Belgian
lender KBC, K&H Bank, whose hearing is scheduled for
Hungary's largest lenders include Austria's Erste
and Raiffeisen, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and
UniCredit, as well as OTP Bank, Hungary's
home-grown market leader.
(1 US dollar = 236.2200 Hungarian forint)
(Reporting by Marton Dunai and Sandor Peto; editing by Jason