The Hungarian Export-Import Bank

Eximbank headquarters in Budapest.

Eximbank headquarters in Budapest.

The National Assembly approved a law in 1994 establishing the Hungarian Export-Import Bank (Magyar Export-Import Bank, or Eximbank) in order to provide financing for the foreign-trade activities of companies operating in Hungary. Eximbank has operated under the direct authority of the National Economy Ministry since May 2012 (source A and B in Hungarian).

Eximbank is based in Budapest and operates offices in eight other towns and cities in Hungary (source in Hungarian).

In September 2014, National Assembly representatives from the FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party alliance and the radical-nationalist Jobbik party voted to amend the law governing the operations of Eximbank in order to make it possible for party officials to serve as the CEO of the bank and to sit on its board of directors and supervisory board (source A, B and C in Hungarian).

Financing the Operations of Eximbank

In November 2012, the National Assembly voted to raise Eximbank’s annual access to budgetary resources to a maximum of 1,200 billion forints from a maximum of 320 billion forints (source A and B in Hungarian).

Eximbank has sold a total of one billion dollars and 400 million euros in state-guaranteed bank bonds in three auctions held in December 2012, September 2013 and September 2014 (source A, B and C in Hungarian).

Support for the Eastern Opening Policy 

Eximbank issued loans intended to promote the Orbán government’s Eastern Opening policy.

On July 18, 2013, National Economy Minister Mihály Varga announced that the Hungarian Export-Import Bank had concluded an agreement with the Chinese Export-Import Bank  for 100 million euros in loans to finance the expansion of exports to China from companies operating in Hungary (source in Hungarian).

On November 26, 2013, officials from the Chinese and Hungarian Eximbanks announced that they had signed an agreement to add a further 100 million euros to the already depleted credit line (source in Hungarian).

Eximbank provided loans to finance the establishment of mostly privately operated Hungarian Trade Houses that the Orbán government founded to promote its Eastern Opening policy (source in Hungarian; see also “Life Instinct” or Insider Trading?).

Loans for Andy Vajna’s Purchase of TV2

In 2015, Eximbank provided 6.7 billion forints in loans to the Andy Vajna-owned Magyar Broadcasting Co. in order to help finance the company’s purchase of commercial television station TV2. Opposition media claim that TV2 has become a vehicle for the dissemination of government propaganda under the supervision of the Prime Minister Orbán’s unofficial chief strategic adviser Árpád Habony since Vajna’s acquisition of the station (source ABC and D in Hungarian).