The building of the NBH in Budapest – Photo: wikimedia

Watchdog puts bank fees under heightened scrutiny

The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) on Tuesday said it will make scrutinising changes to lenders' fees a "priority" as banks pay a windfall tax and the transactions duty is extended.

The central bank and financial market watchdog said it will take “firm action” against conduct that hurts or potentially hurts consumer interests.

The NBH noted that it had required lenders to refund 4 billion forints of unlawfully charged fees to clients in 2013-2015 and levied 1.9 billion in fines for violating transaction duty rules.

Hungary’s government has levied a two-year tax on extra profits on lenders, alongside companies in a number of other sectors, and has prohibited them from passing on the cost of the measure to clients. The government has also extended the transactions duty to securities sales.

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