As a fallout of the current war between Ukraine and Russia, the Central Bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank or MNB) has recently announced that Sberbank Hungary will be liquidated. Bank deposits are insured by OBA and will be returned to customers; corporate customers should find a new financial provider as soon as possible.
So far, no English announcement has been published on this matter. Our article is based of MNB’s Hungarian press release from 1 March.
What is happening to Sberbank Hungary?
On 1 March, Sberbank Europe AG in Austria went into liquidation due to effect of the sanctions against Russia. Sberbank Hungary has a considerable share in Sberbank Europe AG, which has led to concerns about its liquidity. On 28 February, MNB announced that Sberbank Hungary’s branches would remain closed on 28 February and 1 March. On 1 March, MNB revoked Sberbank Hungary’s license and ordered the bank’s liquidation. Currently, the decision is pending the approval of the Ministry of Finance. Sberbank Hungary’s branches will remain closed, and the bank’s customer service is also unavailable.
Your bank deposit is insured by OBA
Although the news might sound concerning and will likely inconvenience the lives of Sberbank Hungary’s customers, there is no reason to overreact. The Hungarian National Deposit Insurance Fund (Országos Betétbiztosítási Alap or OBA) offers deposit insurance to all bank deposits up to the value of EUR 100,000 (ca. HUF 37,000,000). The insurance applies to personal and corporate accounts alike, meaning that both individuals and businesses will get their money back. There is no need to request a payout as all affected bank deposits will be refunded automatically within ten working days. If you had a deposit under the EUR 100,000 limit, the deposit insurance will mean a full refund for you. It is worth mentioning that OBA has never failed to fulfill its deposit insurance obligation.
How do deposit insurance payouts work?
If you are wondering how you will get your bank deposit back, there are three possible scenarios for OBA payouts:
- Natural persons with a Hungarian address and a balance lower than HUF 2,500,000 will be compensated by a cashable cheque through the Hungarian post. Those with a higher balance will receive their money through a payout bank, where they can open an account for this purpose.
- Legal persons with a Hungarian seat and a balance lower than HUF 20,000 will be compensated by wire transfer to their existing account, provided that they have one and report its details to OBA. Those with a higher balance will receive their money through a payout bank.
- Natural persons without a Hungarian address and legal persons without a Hungarian seat will be compensated by wire transfer regardless of their balance.
OBA’s website features a summary of the procedure. Based on this, once the Ministry of Finance approves Sberbank Hungary’s liquidation, OBA will process the data of the bank’s customers in 1-5 working days. You can expect to be contacted by them during this period: individuals will be mailed at their registered address, and businesses at their seat address. Payouts will start in 5-10 working days. We will update our article once there is more information available.
Do you need to open a new bank account?
All Hungarian companies must have a local bank account. If your business has another bank account, you can simply use that but make sure to notify your accountant in advance. If your only account was at Sberbank Hungary, you should open a new account elsewhere as soon as possible. As a temporary solution, you can use an online bank account, but sooner or later you will be expected to have a traditional bank account. Considering that Hungarian banking regulations have recently become stricter, opening a corporate account as a foreigner might prove challenging. However, we would gladly help you with the procedure through our trusted partners.
Work with a trusted partner
The Helpers Team not only offers financial services like accounting and bookkeeping, but also functions as a one-stop-shop for all things related to business operation in Hungary, from company setup through business planning and bank account opening to HR support and more. We have been assisting foreigners in Hungary for more than 15 years, and we will continue to do our best to support our clients over they years to come.
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