Finance Minister reassures savers

The Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian democrat) has assured savers that using money deposited on saving accounts would only be considered as “a final option” if the state was forced to intervene to save a bank from going under. “However, we can’t rule it out as banks would have no reason to be careful otherwise.

Mr Geens made his comments in response to questions about the new directive the EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn is working on that would make it possible for countries to make those with more than 100,000 euro on their savings accounts to make a contribution if their bank needed bailing out.

On Monday of this week Mr Geens said that he didn’t find Mr Rehn’s proposals illogical, as otherwise it would the tax-payer that had to foot the bill.

However, the Finance Minister is now seeking to reassure savers.
"The directive is just one measure that the EU could take in the case of a bank bail-out. It has always been the intention of the Belgian Government to protect savers. Name me one Belgian saver that has been affected during the past few years.”

"We need to restore confidence and reassure savers whatever it takes. However, we should never say to the banks that we will always pay their debts no matter what. If you tell your children that you will support them financially until the day they die, they will never stand on their own two feet.”

"In Belgium we have good means to deal with failing banks by either forced sale or nationalisation and we have a tradition of not hitting savers. The 100,000 euro guarantee remains. If a bank is in trouble we look to the shareholders first, then the major creditors and only at the very last and if no other channel is open to the savers. ”