ECB published an opinion on the mandate and tasks of the MNB related to environmental sustainability in the financial sector in Hungry (CON/2021/12). The Hungarian Ministry of Finance had requested this opinion from ECB on the draft law amending the "Law on MNB." One of the proposed amendments of the MNB mandate specifies that MNB shall support, as a secondary objective, the government’s policy related to environmental sustainability. In its opinion, ECB partially supports certain provisions of the draft law and welcomes the initiative of MNB to offset its carbon footprint as a complementary measure to the accomplishment of its other institutional environmental objectives.
MNB introduced a Green Preferential Capital Requirement Program in 2019. The program ensures that credit institutions receive a Pillar 2 capital requirement reduction on consumer loans serving energy efficient home purposes if consumers receive an interest rate subsidy. However, up to now banks have not incorporated the beneficial features of green mortgage loans into their lending standards and prices. According to the explanatory memorandum, as the current business models of banks do not incorporate the positive externalities relating to energy efficient mortgages, a central bank program that enables direct lending to retail clients would be needed. This could spur green residential real estate constructions and renovations, help renew the domestic residential real estate stock, and support reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The program would also incentivize market participants to provide new green housing loans. The draft law also provides that, as instruments of its monetary policy, MNB will provide energy efficiency consumer loans and, in relation to this task, MNB will manage Hungarian forint accounts for consumers.
ECB supports the provision of energy efficiency loans, which is already a reality across EU and needs to be expanded. ECB understands the wish of the Hungarian authorities to reach an acceleration of this kind of lending in Hungary. However, the new task proposed to be conferred on MNB to provide energy efficiency loans directly to consumers to support green residential real estate developments is a task that can be more appropriately performed by private or state-owned credit institutions or development banks, rather than central banks. Given the substantial operational challenges of the mortgage lending business, this task would, in the absence of further means being granted to MNB, be disproportionate to the MNB’s financial and organizational capacity and could leave MNB vulnerable to substantial financial risks. The performance of this task would also entail reputational risks for MNB and would not fit smoothly into the institutional setup of MNB. The performance of this task would, therefore, be classified as a government, rather than a central banking, task and would have to be conducted by the State, rather than with central bank resources. In conclusion, ECB notes that central banks can independently decide on conducting operations with their monetary counterparts via regular instruments of monetary policy, which may support the government’s policy relating to environmental sustainability. However, the Hungarian authorities are strongly encouraged not to allocate to MNB the task of providing energy efficiency loans directly to consumers.
Related Link: Opinion (PDF)
Keywords: Europe, Hungary, Banking, Climate Change Risk, ESG, Regulatory Capital, Pillar 2, Credit Risk, Residential Real Estate, Opinion, Sustainable Finance, MNB, ECB
Dr. Denton provides industry leadership in the quantification of sustainability issues, climate risk, trade credit and emerging lending risks. His deep foundations in market and credit risk provide critical perspectives on how climate/sustainability risks can be measured, communicated and used to drive commercial opportunities, policy, strategy, and compliance. He supports corporate clients and financial institutions in leveraging Moody’s tools and capabilities to improve decision-making and compliance capabilities, with particular focus on the energy, agriculture and physical commodities industries.
Previous ArticleEBA Publishes Single Rulebook Q&A Updates for March 2021
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FED) adopted the final rule on Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act.
The European Central Bank (ECB) published an updated list of supervised entities, a report on the supervision of less significant institutions (LSIs), a statement on macro-prudential policy.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published a circular on the prudential treatment of crypto-asset exposures, an update on the status of transition to new interest rate benchmarks.
The European Commission (EC) adopted the standards addressing supervisory reporting of risk concentrations and intra-group transactions, benchmarking of internal approaches, and authorization of credit institutions.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) issued rules to manage the risk of off-balance sheet business of commercial banks and rules on corporate governance of financial institutions.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) made announcements to address sustainability issues in the financial sector.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published regulatory standards on identification of a group of connected clients (GCC) as well as updated the lists of identified financial conglomerates.
The General Board of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), at its December meeting, issued an updated risk assessment via the quarterly risk dashboard and held discussions on key policy priorities to address the systemic risks in the European Union.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seeking comments, until December 21, 2022, on the draft guidance for firms to support existing mortgage borrowers.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report that assesses progress on the transition from the Interbank Offered Rates, or IBORs, to overnight risk-free rates as well as a report that assesses global trends in the non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI) sector.