energy crisisThe banking sector, through its Febelfin dome, responds to the government’s call and says it is ready to support both companies and individuals in the face of the continuous rise in energy prices. For individuals, it will allow a general deferral of mortgage loan payments under conditions, from October 1, and for companies, it undertakes to “search with them for the most suitable tailor-made solution”, confirms Febelfin on Thursday in a statement.
On the occasion of the consultation committee last week, the government announced that discussions with the banks were being held under the leadership of Ministers Dermagne and Van Peteghem, for a postponement of the repayment of mortgage loans and the development of banking products in to support investment in energy saving.
Interest will remain due
“By reacting quickly, we have managed, as a sector, to draw up a set of measures in a very short time and to do everything possible so that they can enter into force from 1 October next”, specifies the president. by Febelfin, Johan Thijs. He calls on “all economic actors in society” to examine “where they could, each in their field, offer some form of support to families and businesses in difficulty and thus work together towards a sustainable future”.
Concretely, the deferral of payment of a mortgage implies, for eligible persons, that they will not have to make a capital repayment for 12 months. However, interest will remain due. The duration of the credit will then be extended by the deferral period granted. The banks undertake not to charge the usual application or administrative fees.
To be able to benefit from it, the mortgage must have been contracted for the main place of residence of the borrowers in Belgium (at the time of the request for payment deferral), the total of the movable assets on all the accounts (savings, sight and investment portfolio) must not exceed 10,000 euros. The borrower applying for the deferral must not have any deferment of payment registered as of March 1 and must benefit from a repayment plan in progress or requested from his energy supplier.
The payment deferral can be requested during the period from October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 inclusive.
The Federal Minister of the Economy, Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), welcomed Thursday the announcement by Febelfin of the measure taken by the banks to help individuals in difficulty with their mortgage loan. But, in his eyes, it remains too limited. The tone was the same with Deputy Prime Minister Ecolo, Georges Gilkinet, while in the office of Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V), they said they were waiting for additional measures.
“The moratorium as imagined with Febelfin, the banking federation, is therefore good news for many citizens. However, in the state of the discussions, for the Socialist Party, it is too limited”, indicated Mr. Dermagne for whom the discussions will have to continue. “Banks have a social responsibility and I expect them to play their part in the effort”.
The Socialist Vice-Premier aims for the barrier of 10,000 euros that cannot exceed the total of movable assets on a current account, savings (pension savings not included) or investment available to the individual who requests the moratorium. He recalled that, during the Covid crisis, people with savings of up to 25,000 euros could benefit from a moratorium. “Have the basic needs of citizens changed from one crisis to another when the current crisis is even more serious for household finances?” he wondered.
The minister also asked for a stronger measure for more vulnerable households, for example the possibility of deferring repayment without additional interest.
De Croo: “A real breath of fresh air”
“I ask to go further, for business loans and for investment in energy savings, because this is also what families need. If there is a major issue of direct aid to avoid the default of payment of companies and households, there is also the need to limit energy consumption to lower the bill”, underlined for his part Mr. Gilkinet.
Only the Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, is quoted in the press release sent by Febelfin. The proposal made by the banks is proactive and it is the concretization of the commitment announced before the consultation committee last week, it was pointed out to his cabinet. “The freeze on the reimbursement of mortgage costs proposed by the banks will offer a real breath of fresh air to those who need it to get through the winter,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. “Being able to rely on our banks, as during the Covid period, is extremely valuable in this context.”
Energy crisis: households in difficulty will be allowed to pay only their mortgage interest
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