BUDAPEST Aug 21 Hungary's government will
assess whether to include car loans in a broad relief package
for borrowers to be launched in the coming months, Economy
Minister Mihaly Varga said on Thursday.
Hungary's banks are bracing for the impact of a scheme
drafted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government which the
central bank estimates could cost lenders up to 900 billion
forints ($3.8 billion).
The programme is intended to make banks to compensate
clients for past overcharging. Banks have launched legal
challenges against the legislation to prove that unilateral
contract changes implemented in the past years were fair.
The central bank said in an emailed response that its cost
estimate for the relief package included all contracts
potentially involved, including car loan deals.
"It is possible to examine whether this type of unfair
practice emerged not just in mortgage loans but in car loans as
well," Varga told public radio in an interview.
"We will do so and will make a proposal for the settlement
of the loans in the autumn accordingly," he said.
Hungarian banks held a total stock of car loans worth 274
billion forints as of March, according to the latest available
central bank data, of which 181 billion forints were foreign
Banks in Hungary include units of Belgium's KBC,
Austria's Raiffeisen Bank and Erste Bank,
Italy's UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, and
(1 US dollar = 236.81 Hungarian forint)
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Toby Chopra)