In a Financial Times interview, Erste leader Andreas Treichl says foreign currency loan was a great mistake, and he also criticizes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.Andreas Treichl has been leading Erste for 21 years, which is a record in Europe, but perhaps in the world as well. As the head of the Viennese-based Erste Group, he survived not only the financial crisis in 2008, but the Central European foreign currency credit crisis, too. Now, he gave a very self-critical interview to Financial Times.
As one of his biggest mistakes, he mentioned that he had not seen the risk in the US subprime mortgage market, which was responsible for the 2008 crisis. As Erste’s largest banking group in Central and Eastern Europe, Treichl’s institution was able to keep its market even during the years of the crisis, but the issue of foreign currency loans had a bad effect on their image.
“Everyone knew it was nonsense, after all, yes, it was really bad”
– said the banker in the interview to Financial Times on foreign currency loans. At the same time, he also said that there had been a great demand for the products, and the costumers also benefited from it.
Treichl also spoke critically about the agreement with the Hungarian state. He said that the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán
“took an advantage of our weak position and pulled out a lot of money from our pocket.”
In the Financial Times interview, Treichl claimed that their costs related to the “difficulties in Hungary” exceeded EUR 500 million.