Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced Monday that his government would start easing the highest bank tax in the European Union, which has angered foreign financial institutions.
The tax will be "significantly lower" in 2015 and 2016 and this will "hopefully" be followed by more cuts in 2017 and 2018, Orban said.
Without specifying the rate, he said the intake from the levy would drop to 60 billion forints (around 190 million euros, $221 million) in 2016, from an expected 144 billion forints this year.
"It is time for us to open a new era in our cooperation with banks," Orban told a press conference.
"The aim is to bring Hungary's bank tax closer to the EU average," he added.
The tax, which is not expected to be lifted entirely, is one of several special levies Orban's government has imposed on sectors dominated by foreign companies, like energy, retail and telecommunication.
Hungary's banks -- most of them foreign-owned like Austria's Erste Group and Raiffeisen and Italy's Unicredit -- have also been forced to shoulder losses incurred by household debtors unable to repay foreign currency mortgages following the forint's dive.
However, in a deal hailed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as a "good start to open a new chapter for the banking sector", Orban signed a memorandum of understanding Monday with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti, to buy a 15-percent stake each in the local unit of Erste Bank.
Orban said the price will only be decided after due diligence in the coming weeks, and the deal was on condition that the bank releases more credit into the Hungarian economy.
The completion of the transaction is expected within the next six months, Erste's CEO Andreas Treichl said.