Glosses No5                                                                                                                olvassa magyarul

The Banking System of Hungary

Alain Subi-Du has said that one of the preconditions to build a successful market economy is the modern banking system. It should be flexible, open for new ideas, capable and ready to finance not only projects in the hands of big capital, but also projects in the small scale economy and in the agriculture. It should be quick in decision-taking, efficient in handling money on every level, maintain well accounts of big and small enterprises, people .

The banking system grows fast in Hungary, most of the banks are in the hands of Western capital. One would think that it is already on the above described level.

Now, I lost quite some money recently, because one of the well-known banks with headquarters in one of our neighbouring countries handled my money not with the expected care. I decided to change this bank for a better one. Do you think it was easy?

First I went to the nearby branch of a famous European Bank, asked where do they handle securities. I was shown  to a busy cashier's desk. I thought it was a mistake and asked again to direct  me to the proper desk. I was conducted to the same busy place of a few square meters, so I left the bank.

My second attempt was a branch of a bank with very Hungarian name, owned by American capital. The office looked a little bit better than that of the first bank, but the lady behind the counter was slow, visibly tired, annoyed. So, I left this office as well.

I decided to call headquarters of important banks trying to find my bank judging from the way I get information over phone. My idea proved to be good. I contacted around 8 banks with the following results:

(1) A famous Hungarian bank, partly in foreign hands, reply to my first query: the person (one!) is on maternity leave, call XY. The line was ringing, no reply. Sorry, I shall push you through to Miss Z. No reply again. I recalled Parkinson's law about dying enterprise and made a red cross over the name of the bank.

(2) A famous American bank: we closed our LLC, which was handling such matters, you have to contact one of our branches. Which ones are handling securities? I got two addresses, but no phone numbers, the lady was too busy to search for them. No comment.

(3) The best known Hungarian bank's daughter company: three unsuccessful calls, the lines were permanently busy. Then: we shall switch you to Mr X. I got him finally, he was polite, but someone was loudly singing an awful song, playing on my exhausted nerves. Yeah, OK, but call Miss Y, who is our agent.....Cross!

(4) Headoffice of the bank of my first attempt: no, we do not, call our branch of ......and two phones are given. You better call our branch in Duna Plaza and a phone number.... The line is ringing and ringing....Parkinson....I am at the edge of collapse!

I do not remember the rest, one worse than the other, with the exception of only one.

The 5th or 6th was the appropriate daughter company of a relatively new bank in Hungary, a foreign one. The lady telephonist understands my question (!), pushes me through to the "Department of Clients". You will get a call soon. I get the call in half an hour and the person expresses his happiness that we meet again after so many years. He remembers me, I slowly recall the figure of a young man who was one of the clerks handling our securities in the National Bank. The joy in his voice was one of the decisive factors, but the way these people reacted predicted efficiency. I am with them: Erste Bank Befektetési Rt. We have already regained one third of our losses.

But the rest of my story is not a joke: the overall picture is very sad. Neocapitalism without proper tools.



Sunday News

I was warned by friends not to listen to the Kossuth Radio's Sunday News.

I was stupid enough not to switch off the noise-box last Sunday, but listened some 10 minutes to a journalist who started with the Gypsy problem of Hungary and ended up with the ex slave-system in the USA. I do not want to comment on what he said about the Gypsy question, read our "Gypsies Chapter" instead. But the way he was celebrating the approval of the flag of the slavery in one of the Southern states of the USA was simply unbelievable. He was trying to justify the slavery saying that some negroes were also slave-holders! XXI. century, Europe, freedom, democracy, free expression of thoughts. Even such ugly-smelling, racialist thoughts. Never again Sunday News.

According to rumours the government of Hungary is backing this program.



My Congratulations, Court of Constitution!

The Court of Constitution of Hungary rejected the law, that obliged co-operatives to reimburse the shares of "outside owners" of co-operative capital, which would definitely kill 2/3rd of the still existing agricultural co-operatives (which was most probably the political aim of the rightist government).

One third of the Hungarian peasantry got some time to save their life. Congratulations, congratulations!!


Christening of a Habsburg in Budapest

One of the most outstanding events of political significance among feasts of ex-aristocrats, churches, rightist  associations, celebrating the victory of the XIXth century over clear mind: a newborn Hubsburg was christened in the Mátyás church, the coronation church of Habsburgs.

One more Hubsburg in Hungary? Why in Hungary, which was definitely opressed by them for some 150 years, pushed in the catastrophic war, which ended for Hungary in Trianon?

It seems that the climate in the country of ex-slaves is better for them than in Austria. Guess, why?

Stupidity has no bounds.



Viktor, the Great is going to America, to make a bargain

I am not joking, this was  announced by  one of the TV news programs. Though the Ministry of Defence has taken final decision to purchase (scrap) F-16s, the official statement is delayed because the prime minister is going to use his planned visit to the USA to make a bargain and cut the prices of the fighters - it was said.

I have a few questions, remarks and suggestions:

- With whom does he intend to make the bargain? With the president of the USA (if he receives him at all, the reception will last 10 minutes) or with the management of Lockheed (which would be ridiculous)?

- Buyers of this magnitude do not go to bargain, but wait until the seller comes and licks their....(you know).

- After making public that the Ministry of Defence finally decided for the purchase of scrap, why does he believe that bargain is possible? The seller's side has 1000 times more business experience than he and will not start a bargain after having got the golden egg.

- Up to the moment of this announcement the price of the project was indicated as HUF 160 billion. Now the statement is talking about HUF 186 billion. It sounds like  discount tactics: the price is increased and then the original price is indicated as discount price. Let make everybody happy, let the voters believe that the prime minister is more clever than his whole staff. He will return with HUF 160 billion (spent unnecessarily). My opinion: much more will be needed, the costs will grow during the process of implementation.

- Think over the above and agree with me: the aim of his visit must be something else, not bargaining. Have a look at this video-clip.

A piece of advice for his journey: keep in mind the following list of absolutely unavoidable investments, before throwing out your voters' money:

- education,

- health,

- agriculture,

- highways,

- water-management,

- enviromental projects,

- elimination of absolutely inhuman poverty.

You may also build a church commemorating that you did not make this stupid mistake of purchasing unnecessary scrap.