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Under an agreement between the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Ukrainian refugees can from now on exchange Grivnia* banknotes for euros in Belgium. This service, made possible by the federal government, is offered at the NBB’s counters. The following banks have also agreed to cooperate: Belfius, Beobank, BNP Paribas Fortis, CBC, ING, KBC and KBC Brussels.

From 1 June, Ukrainian refugees registered in Belgium can exchange Grivnia banknotes for euros at the National Bank’s counters and at branches of the participating banks. As expressly requested in a European Commission recommendation, a maximum of 10 000 Grivnia can be exchanged per adult.

After the provision of bank accounts for Ukrainian refugees, this is another example of what the banks are doing to help. We would like to thank the Minister of Finance and the National Bank of Belgium for working with us to make this possible. It demonstrates once again that, with joint efforts, much can be achieved.
Karel Baert
Febelfin CEO

Agreement

The exchange of Grivnia banknotes in Belgium has been made possible by negotiations between the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) which resulted in a legal agreement specifying, among other things, the logistical arrangements and the exchange rate to be applied. The National Bank is carrying out this work at the behest of the Belgian State. The NBB received the mandate for that purpose following today’s decision by the Federal Council of Ministers. Further details of this agreement were worked out with Febelfin.

After Poland, Belgium is one of the first EU Member States to offer a service enabling Ukrainian refugees to exchange their national banknotes for euros. However, various Member States have announced that they will shortly follow the example set by Poland and Belgium.

As soon as war broke out in Ukraine, Ukrainian refugees faced the issue of exchanging their banknotes in the EU Member States. That did not seem easy, in either legal or operational respects. For example, a scheme at European level was not feasible. Since then, some EU Member States have sought alternatives on a bilateral basis. Intensive negotiations by the NBB with the NBU and between the Belgian federal government, the NBB and the banking sector have now made the service possible in Belgium.

NBB Director Tim Hermans: “We consider it our humanitarian duty to offer this service to the refugees and we are therefore pleased that, thanks to our efforts, this service can now be made available in our country.”

Practicalities:

Only 100, 200, 500 and 1 000 Grivnia notes will be accepted.

1. Exchange at the National Bank’s counters:

  • Exchange into euros limited to a maximum of 10 000 Grivnia per adult, once only.
  • Proof of refugee status will be requested. Exchange is permitted only for Ukrainian refugees (recognised or with evidence of applying for refugee status). No-one in possession of a Belgian identity card is allowed to exchange!
  • Exchange is possible on weekdays between 08.45 and 15.30 at the National Bank’s counters (Boulevard de Berlaimont 3, 1000 Brussels)

2. Deposit in accounts with Belfius, Beobank, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, KBC, CBC and KBC Brussels:

  • A maximum of 10 000 Grivnia per adult account holder can be deposited in an existing account with the bank concerned.
  • The bank will convert the Grivnia notes to euros and will immediately credit the equivalent amount to the customer’s existing account. There will therefore be no cash exchange at the counters of the participating banks.
  • The account in which the Grivnia are deposited will be credited in accordance with the bank’s normal internal procedure.
  • Since this is a humanitarian operation, the bank will not charge any fees or expenses for the transactions.

More information?

Press office NBB: for more information, contact Sarah Bonmariage  (via pressoffice@nbb or the press number 02/221.52.57).

Febelfin press office: contact Isabelle Marchand for more information (via press@febelfin.be or press number 02/507.68.31).   

 

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