Finance Minister wants to agree protocol with banks to help companies through the coronavirus crisis

The Federal Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem (Flemish Christian democrat) has called on the bank to draw up a clear protocol on how to deal with companies that are experiencing difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis and request the deferral of their loans.

In December the authorities met with representatives of the banks and reached an agreement on loan deferrals for companies. The European Banking Authority (EBA) has said that banks can grant companies loan deferrals, but only for a period of no longer than 9 months.

"We have met with the banks to see what will happen after the nine months. It was agreed that after 9 months companies' requests will treated on a case by case basis”.

"We are now hearing painful stories that lack any sense of reason or humanity (one businessman was told that he should first use the money from his child’s savings account before his company would be helped by the bank). This arbitrary approach needs to stop”.  

Mr Van Peteghem wants to reach a new agreement with the banks. "There needs to be clarity about what the procedures when operating on a case by case basis should be. It needs to be clear what costs will be incurred and which guarantees will be asked for. I would like to draw up a protocol with the banks on how they should deal with this”.

The Finance Minister is also in talks will the banks on the possibility of extending the case-by-case treatment of requests by companies in trouble that is due to end in March by a further 3 months.  

"I am calling for social responsibility on the part of the banks. The state helped the banks when they were in difficulty all those years ago. We showed solidarity. Now we are asking them to show a degree of solidarity and responsibility too”.

 

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