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Kúria rules in favor of forex debtors

June 9th, 2014

Most commentators believe that the latest high court ruling is good news for forex debtors and harbigner of a broad guideline that will ease their burden.

The Kúria decided in favour of the plaintiffs in a landmark forex mortgage case, arguing that the banks should not have charged the debtor with the cost of the spread and announced that a unified legal guideline will be issued for courts on how to tackle debts denominated in foreign currencies. The spread only amounts to one or two per cent of the monthly instalments, but several other controversial issues, like whether the banks could freely change interest rates as they are allowed to do in many contracts, will also be settled by the Kúria.
In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Erdősi thinks banks should now move swiftly and reimburse the spread charged so far, preventing further long court cases. A financial blog, on the other hand, thinks the decision sets the stage for direct government intervention or a statute ordering all banks to reimburse the amount of the spread to the debtors. Erdősi calls it outrageous that clients should have been compelled to go to court and conduct litigation for long years before such a simple matter could be settled. What were the authorities paid for keeping an eye on he banking sector doing during all those years, he asks.

In Heti Válasz, Anita Élő finds the ruling somewhat baffling, noting that it contradicts a verdict the Kúria delivered a year ago. Then it said the spread should be specifically included in the contracts. Defaulted debtors protested in the streets and Anita Élő then called their reaction irrational. In the light of the latest decision she asks those demonstrators to forgive her.

Népszabadság admits that the Fidesz government was the first to fulfil its duty in this field – it protected the rights of the public by compelling the banks to use the medium exchange rate in calculating forex loan payments. The banks have now lost another battle, but this is not the end of the conflict.

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