BUDAPEST, March 19 Hungary's ruling Fidesz party
aims to resolve the problem of remaining foreign currency loans
if it wins a parliamentary election, as widely expected, on
April 6, a senior Fidesz lawmaker said on Wednesday.
Foreign-currency mortgages were popular in Hungary before
the 2008 global financial crisis. Since then, the forint has
weakened and loan payments have soared, leading to widespread
Gergely Gulyas said Fidesz would wait for Hungary's top
court, the Kuria, to decide on some aspects of the loans, which
could happen in May. Depending on this ruling, if necessary, the
new parliament could pass legislation soon afterwards, he said.
"We would like all borrowers to be able to repay (loans) at
a fixed exchange rate," Gulyas, deputy head of the Fidesz
parliamentary group, told private television TV2. He declined to
say what this exchange rate would be.
But Gulyas reiterated that those who borrowed in forints
should not be in a worse situation after the new measure than
Swiss franc mortgage holders.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban's centre-right government says
foreign currency-denominated loans exploit ordinary Hungarians.
It wants to implement a relief scheme, for which banks will
probably have to foot part of the bill, but says it will wait
for legal issues to be ironed out before taking any new steps.
Gulyas said the aim was to negotiate with the banks but
there would be a solution even if they cannot reach agreement.
"What we can promise now is that there will be a solution
for the remaining 400,000-500,000 loan contracts as well by the
end of the next term (of the government)," he said.
Gulyas welcomed a decision by Hungary's Constitutional Court
on Monday, which ruled that loan contracts may be modified
retroactively by law in exceptional cases.
Banks that could be affected by a new relief scheme for
foreign currency borrowers include units of Belgium's KBC
, Austria's Raiffeisen Bank, Erste Bank
and Italy's Unicredit. Banks have already
lost more than a billion euros in a 2011 relief scheme.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Gareth Jones)