Top Bank CEO Votes for Stability in Hungarian Election Race

(Bloomberg) -- Hungary’s government remaining in power after April’s parliamentary election would help the banking sector continue to operate in a supportive environment, according to Sandor Csanyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OTP Bank Nyrt.

In contrast, a new government would mean "huge" uncertainties for banks, Csanyi, 64, who has been at the helm of Hungary’s biggest lender for more than 25 years, said in a rare interview on political matters on Friday after publishing the bank’s quarterly results.

He went further. Hungarian banks’ relationship with both the government and the central bank is now "excellent" under the administration led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Csanyi said. While a healthy banking sector should be of fundamental importance for any cabinet’s economic growth agenda, opposition parties have so far failed to present clear plans on how they would deal with bank levies imposed by Orban, he said.

With Orban’s Fidesz party having led opinion polls by a wide margin for years, its local election loss in its stronghold of Hodmezovasarhely last weekend has made an upset in the April parliamentary poll less of a remote scenario. Orban regards his party’s defeat in the municipal ballot as an "alarm bell" before the nationwide vote, he said in an interview published Thursday.

At the same time, Csanyi said that political influences would ultimately prove secondary to the overall economic environment.

"The state of the economy is far more important for us than what the government thinks about the banking sector," he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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