PITEE Consumer Protection Association
for Financial Services
Our mission is to enforce consumer rights and bring about fundamental change in Hungarian legal culture by promoting and defending democracy, free competition, EU standards, transparency and the rule of law – all values not shared by the Hungarian government and oligarchy.
2. Hungary’s Household Foreign-Currency (FX) Debt Crisis in Numbers
|Total household FX debt:||20 bn EUR||11 bn EUR|
|Non-performing FX loans:||4 %||22 %|
|Population of Hungary:||10,014,324||9,877,365|
|Total number of FX loan contracts:||> 1.1 million||620,000|
|Per capita household FX debt:||2,000 EUR||1,150 EUR|
|Average gross monthly wage:||710 EUR||750 EUR|
|Exchange Rate HUF/EUR||286.46 HUF||314.89 HUF|
Click on the numbers to open the source of the information.
Thousands of foreign currency household mortgage contracts may turn out to be invalid following a Budapest Court decision (Hungarian, pdf) that cancelled an OTP Bank contract on December 7, 2012.>DénesILázár., a founder of PITEE, a consumer protection organisation in Hungary told Atlatszo.hu in an interview that the Court’s decision is setting a precedent, admitting the flaws of the Hungarian financial sector’s application of the law. Mr.–Lázár complained about the often irresponsible lending practices of Hungarian banks; he said if the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority (PSZÁF) had operated properly, it would have been able to stop massive amounts of citizens taking out foreign currency loans.
Read the full interview in Hungarian on www.atlatszo.hu
4. Hungarian Constitutional Court
The Court delivered various decisions, which show that the judges do not respect the values of the European human rights conventions. In particular, they do not understand the concept of separation of powers.
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”
(Art. 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights).
English translation of important decisions with explanatory notes:
Decision 33/2015 (December 1, 2015)
Decision 3057/2015 (March 24, 2015)
Other English documents about the constitutional court
Hungary’s Government has taken control of the Constitutional Court (March 24, 2015)
Report of three Hungarian Human Rights Groups
5. Other documents in English
Hungarian Constitutional Court denies fair trials for consumers
Open letter to Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in relation to various judgements of the Hungarian Constitutional Court (November 30, 2015)
Translation of the reasoning of the decision No.: IV/1536/2014 of the Hungarian Constitutional Court. The reasoning shows that the judges of the Hungarian Constitutional Court do not respect the values of the European human rights conventions. (April 27, 2015)
Translation of a Statement of the Hungarian Minister of Justice in connection with the laws that aim of providing relief to tens of thousands of consumers who have foreign currency mortgages (February 26, 2015)
Application to the European Court of Human Rights (January 23, 2015)
Application to the European Commission (December 27, 2014)
6. Latest Press Release
Press Release no. 21
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is preparing to elect a new Hungarian judge to the European Court of Human Rights. In view of the candidates’ curricula, there are reasons to fear that they are not committed to the values of the European Human Rights Convention. Meanwhile, the Hungarian government is preparing for a crackdown on foreign-backed NGOs. As Hungarian courts do not provide effective legal remedies, it is to be expected that targeted NGOs will seek legal protection at the European Court of Human Rights.
The next Hungarian judge on the European Court of Human Rights will be elected this week. The candidates are Ms Krisztina FÜZI-ROZSNYAI, Mr Péter PACZOLAY and Mr Pál SONNEVEND. The candidates’ legal education was shaped by the communist ideology of democratic centralism, which denies the independence of the judiciary. Decision 8/2014 of the Hungarian Constitutional Court proves that even Mr PACZOLAY, who was elected Honorary President of the Venice Commission in 2013, rejects the concept of separation of powers.
Despite the regime change of 1989, Hungarian legal culture is still far behind that of Western Europe. Legal education in Hungary has not been substantially changed in the past 28 years. The language barrier constrains the knowledge transfer from stable constitutional states.
Mr Orbán has been able to restore an authoritarian regime because Hungarian judges do not have the required skills to force the Government to respect the rule of law. Day in and day out Orbán demonstrates that nothing, not even the law, can stand against his safe majority in parliament.
This can be clearly observed in connection with the Government’s efforts to solve the FX mortgage crisis, the migration crisis and the bankruptcy of the investment company Quaestor.
The planned crackdown on foreign-backed NGOs will be the next step in the serial violation of democratic standards. The NGOs will seek protection against the Government’s actions in the Hungarian courts. But their prospect of success is very slim. The Hungarian court system is still firmly in the grip of judges who received their legal education under the communist regime. These judges will not oppose the Government to protect democratic values and European human right standards, which makes it very likely that more and more cases will be brought before the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court of Human Rights is the only court with jurisdiction in Hungary where Hungarian citizens can hope for a fair trial and effective legal remedies.
We are asking the decision makers in the Council of Europe to act with due care to ensure that the Hungarian candidate they elect to the Court will have no adverse effect on the level of protection for Hungarian citizens.
7. Press Review
- Election of a Hungarian Judge to the European Court of Human Rights
(January 10, 2017)
- Budapest Metropolitan Court rejects a claim of consumer protection organization PITEE concerning the annual report of the OTP Bank
(December 2, 2016)
- Hungarian Government nominates three candidates to the European Court of Human Rights
(September 7, 2016)
- Hungarian Consumers are bringing a new violation of their human rights to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights
(August 31, 2016)
- Hungarian Government ignores recommendations regarding the nomination process for candidates to the European Court of Human Rights
(August 3, 2016)
- Chief Justice of Hungarian Supreme Court attacks consumer protection lawyers
(July 14, 2016)
- The lack of effective legal remedies fosters abusive lending practices
(June 7, 2016)
- Budapest Metropolitan Court may stop OTP paying dividends.
(May 31, 2016)
- Court decisions in Hungary are not influenced by objective arguments
(May 23, 2016)
- PITEE filed a claim against OTP Bank asking the courts to annul the approval of the financial results.
(May 11, 2016)
- Constitutional Court is depriving FX loan debtors of their human rights (Court Decision 33/2015)
(February 9, 2016)
- Conversion of FX car loans and FX personal loans
(September 29, 2015)
- Banks lose mortgage cases in illegal tribunals
(February 4, 2015)
- Mortgage debtors are waiting in vain for their cases to be heard by the courts.
(January 28, 2015)
- Complaint about application of Union law by Hungary
(January 5, 2015)
- Hungarian government breaches European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in order to force consumers to adhere to void mortgage agreements.
(September 18, 2014)
- The Hungarian parliament passes a bill with the aim of providing relief to tens of thousands of consumers who have foreign currency mortgages.
(July 24, 2014)
- The Hungarian OTP Bank Nyrt is hiding a risk of approx. € 10 billion from the eyes of its investors
(January 08, 2014)
- Szász warns of panic if banks lose mortgage lawsuits
(June 18, 2013)
- Press release – Hungary: Political radicalisation is on the rise due to systematic judicial error of the courts
(March 20, 2013)
- All mortgage contracts may be invalid
(January 16, 2013)
- Foreign currency mortgage contract ruled to be invalid by court
(January 3, 2013)
- Court rules against OTP
(December 19, 2012)
- Press release – Hungarian banks originated foreign currency consumer loans illegally for years, regulators failed to discover misconduct
(November 23, 2011)
Pénzügyi Ismeretterjesztő és Érdek-képviseleti Egyesület (PITEE) is an independet consumer protection association established under Hungarian law. The association was founded in 2008. The Chairman is Dr.xDenesyLazar. He is qualified as “Rechtsanwalt” in Germany, and as Solicitor in Engaland and Wales.