Belgian banks have consistently stood ready to fully support the economy in times of crisis. Indeed, during the Covid crisis, banks continued to extend credit and assisted businesses and households that encountered financial difficulties. Banks granted payment deferrals of €13 billion to individuals and €24 billion to businesses of their own accord over that period.
And Belgian banks are once again showing their social commitment during the energy crisis. The sector has taken the initiative to offer a deferral of principal payments on loans to households experiencing financial hardship because of soaring energy prices. The banks provide a customised solution for businesses. Businesses experiencing problems are encouraged to speak to their banker to see what individual solutions are possible.
But to continue playing this role in times of economic crisis and uncertainty, the banking sector needs to be strong and healthy. Additional levies reduce the banks’ clout to support our economy. The potential impact on lending to businesses and households should not be underestimated. After all, with an amount of €100 million, banks can lend for about €2 billion.
Banks also need to have sufficient capacity to absorb shocks and rise to the challenges of the future, including the vital role financial institutions play in funding the transition to a more sustainable society.
Given the challenging economic times, the financial sector is certainly ready to go the extra mile, but these measures reduce the banks’ capacity to provide the necessary oxygen to businesses and households.