BUDAPEST, March 12 (Reuters) - Economist Mihaly Patai, the head of UniCredit’s Hungarian banking arm, is expected to join the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) as a deputy governor next month, radio station Klubradio reported on Tuesday, without citing sources.
Patai would join the rate-setting monetary council when the term of Deputy Governor Ferenc Gerhardt expires on April 21, local media said.
The 65-year-old Patai, chairman and chief executive of the local unit of Italian banking group UniCredit, is also the president of the Hungarian Banking Association. He is a long-time friend of central bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy, who is an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The governor and two or three deputy governors are nominated by the prime minister. Matolcsy himself was appointed for a second term on March 4.
UniCredit and government spokespersons were not immediately available for comment.
The Hungarian central bank, after keeping interest rates at record lows for years, is widely expected to start to tighten liquidity this year, possible at its next meeting on March 26, to fight rising inflation. (Reporting by Sandor Peto and Gergely Szakacs, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)