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Energy and commodity prices have risen dramatically in recent months, with major implications for the economic situation in our country. The high energy prices are also putting a particular strain on the financial situation of many families and companies. In this uncertain climate, the financial sector wants to fulfil its responsibility and is prepared to provide maximum assistance to struggling customers.

The financial sector is making a commitment to assist private individuals in the best possible manner and guide them through the energy crisis by granting a general payment deferral for home loans. Banks are also prepared to help businesses and work with them to find the best tailor-made solution for their needs.  

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister: "Many Belgians are currently wondering how they can continue to pay their ever-increasing energy bills on top of their recurrent expenses. The deferral of mortgage payments as proposed by the banks will help those who need it to get through the winter. The current energy price crisis will require efforts from everyone. In this context, it is really important to be able to count on our banks, as during the covid period."  

Johan Thijs, Chairman Febelfin: "The Belgian banks want to provide maximum support to their customers who are at risk of financial difficulties in this complicated and uncertain period. By acting quickly, we as a sector were able to work out a package of measures in a very short time and have them enter into force as early as  the 1st of October. This should enable our customers to ease their family or business budgets for a year, pending normalisation of energy prices and resolution of geopolitical conflicts. At the same time, we call on all economic players in society to consider where, each in their own field, they can offer some form of support to families and businesses in difficulty and thus work together towards a sustainable future."

Karel Baert, CEO Febelfin: "With winter just around the corner and energy prices skyrocketing, many families and businesses are faced with an uncertain financial future. As part of the financial sector, we aim to fulfil our social role as an expression of solidarity, just as we did during the Covid-19 crisis. We want to offer maximum support to those who are in a particularly difficult situation, and in this way, help provide a solution for the consequences of this energy crisis. Exceptional times require exceptional efforts. The support measures outlined by us today will benefit those who need this the most. All bank employees will do their utmost to assist everyone as best they can."

Payment deferral for private individuals

The financial sector is committed to assisting the customers who are hardest hit by the energy crisis, to the best possible extent, in order to guide them through this turbulent period.

Private individuals who are financially affected by the energy crisis and meet the eligibility requirements may apply for a payment deferral for their home loan. If you apply for this, and provided you meet the eligibility requirements, the bank will grant the payment deferral. 

  • A payment deferral for a home loan means that the borrower does not have to make any capital repayments for 12 months. The interest amounts must still be paid.  The term of the loan will be extended by the period for which the payment deferral is granted. In other words:  the borrower will repay his/her loan for 12 months longer than originally planned.
  • The banks undertake not to charge the usual service or administration fees.
Exceptional times require exceptional efforts. The support measures outlined by us today will benefit those who need this the most. All bank employees will do their utmost to assist everyone as best they can.
Karel Baert
CEO Febelfin

For whom? Award conditions

A home loan payment deferral may be  requested by private individuals who meet all the following conditions:

  • The home loan has been taken for the principal place of residence of the borrower(s) in Belgium (at the time of submission of the payment deferral application).
  • At the time of the payment deferral application, the total movable assets in the current and savings accounts and any investment portfolio held by the borrower(s) at the bank that has granted the loan or at another bank amounts to less than EUR 10,000. Pension savings are not included in this.
  • There were no payment arrears recorded in the Central Individual Credit Register as on 1 March 2022.
  • The borrower has an ongoing payment plan with his/her energy supplier or has applied for one.

The bank will request certain supporting documents to initiate the application, such as proof of the payment plan with the energy supplier or an application for this. In addition, a solemn declaration will also be requested stating that the individual is facing difficulties in making payments due to his/her increasing energy bill and that his/her total movable assets amount to less than EUR 10,000.

Time period

  • The payment deferral may be applied for in the period from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
  • It may only be requested for future capital repayments, whether paid on a monthly basis or otherwise.
  • For those who wish to obtain a payment deferral for their future capital repayments that are due on a monthly basis or other due date, it is important to submit the application to the bank in a timely manner. You should always count on 10 calendar days for the processing of the payment deferral application. For example: for the deferral of a monthly payment due on 1 November 2022, the application must be submitted at the latest by 21 October 2022.

Contact

All those who are facing payment problems and who would like to apply for a payment deferral may contact their bank from 19 September 2022 onwards to see if they meet the conditions. This can be done by appointment, via the bank’s digital channels (email, chat, mobile app, etc.) or by phone.

Those who do not meet the conditions for the payment deferral but are nevertheless facing financial problems are also advised to contact their bank as soon as possible. Together, solutions can be sought for your specific situation to bridge this difficult period as efficiently as possible.

Working together to find tailor-made solutions for companies

For companies as well, the banks will do everything they can to help them get tide over this difficult economic situation. Companies that risk facing financial difficulties due to high energy prices may contact their bank so that, together, a possible tailor-made solution can be found.

There are various options for offering companies or self-employed persons specific made-to-measure solutions. Companies may apply for a deferral of capital repayment, as well as for additional financing, an extension of the term of their credit, or even a combination of these formulas or another alternative option.  The best way to help a business avert a financial crisis will become clear after the consultation between the company and the bank and an assessment of each specific case.

The banks will do their utmost to provide as much assistance and support as possible to all businesses and self-employed persons facing financial pressure due to the energy crisis.

Febelfin has prepared a brochure called ‘Talk to your banker before it’s too late’ (Praat met je bankier voor het te laat is) to inform businesses about possible tailor-made solutions.

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