The banking system continues to play a key role in the financing of the Hungarian economy and the bolstering of the country’s competitiveness, Minister of Finance Mihály Varga said after he had met with Intesa Sanpaolo Board of Directors Chairman Gian Maria Gros-Pietro from Italy.

The fact that return-on-equity figures are back to pre-crisis levels signal that banking has returned to profitability in Hungary as well. The solid performance of the Hungarian economy has also created a stable background for banks operating in the country, the Minister added. Last year was especially successful, as the Hungarian banking sector closed the year with a pre-tax profit of HUF 689bn (EUR 2.15bn), and after-tax profit of HUF 623bn (EUR 1.94bn), which constitutes a return-on-equity ratio of more than 17 percent, he noted.

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Through the MoU concluded in February 2015 with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Government has committed itself to reducing the surcharge for financial institutions. Accordingly, the top rate of this tax was cut from the former 0.53 percent to 0.21 percent.  The same agreement envisages the nearing of the rate of tax to European levels in coming years. In addition, banks also pay a low corporate income tax rate of 9 percent in Hungary, Mihály Varga stressed.

(Ministry of Finance)