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The government has deemed the planned creation of a “superbank” by combining Budapest Bank, MKB Bank, and MTB Savings Bank a national strategic interest. Consequently, the union does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH). 

Government decree 574/2020, which came into effect yesterday, states that in order to increase the competitiveness of the Hungarian financial sector, Magyar Bankholding Zrt. taking direct control over all three of the above banks is considered to be of national strategic significance.

The government has been openly vocal about its plans to concentrate capital in the hands of a few companies throughout the economy in order to increase the nation’s international competitiveness.

The government’s decree exempts the merger from being subject to review by Hungary’s competition authority. It would otherwise likely violate competition law.

The ownership structure of this new “superbank” was announced on October 30.  According to the investment and syndicate agreement signed by all parties, the superbank will be worth HUF 744 billion (EUR 2.1 billion).

The government will own 30.35% of Magyar Bankholding Zrt via Corvinus Nemzeti Befektetési Zrt.

The owners of MKB will get 31.96% of the superbank. 48% of MKB Bank belongs to government-ally billionaire Lőrinc Mészáros. Mészáros-group is the fifth largest entirely Hungarian-owned company in the country according to Forbes. The group has received almost HUF 200 billion (EUR 560 million) from government tenders in the past 3 years.

Finally, the owners of MTB will have 37.69% of the unified company. MTB’s CEO is József Vida, the owner of the pro-government network TV2, and the 33rd richest Hungarian.

Govt Backs Right-Wing Media Firm
Govt Backs Right-Wing Media Firm

The government has declared the acquisition of the publisher of Echo Tv, Magyar Idők, Origo and Opus Press by the newly founded Central European Press and Media Foundation an important case of national strategy. The regulation was signed by PM Viktor Orbán, and according to the government, the move is in the interest of the […]Continue reading

The Orbán government, and the prime minister himself, has initially targeted getting more than half of the country’s banking sector in domestic hands. They achieved this goal relatively rapidly, and today, almost 90% of the banking system is owned by Hungarians. This is not to say that retail banking is mostly domestic; many of the biggest retail banks are mostly or entirely foreign.

The details of the merger will be worked out next year, so the three banks will continue to operate separately for the time being.

In the featured photo: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office