A new one-year government bond with a discount on withholding tax such as in 2023 is not worth repeating, the CEO of ING Belgium, Peter Adams, said on Thursday in the margins of the presentation of the annual results. He pointed out that last year’s issue caused 25 billion euros in potential credits to evaporate for the entire sector, “money that is no longer available to the economy (…) I think that as a sector we can create more added value”, said Adams.
The CEO also criticized unfair competition. “With the government bond, we gained a new player in the banking sector, who is also a referee and applies different rules,” says Adams. At ING Belgium, 2.7 billion euros in savings flowed away due to the government bond.
The Treasury has already announced that a new, one-year government bond will also be issued this year, but the precise – fiscal – conditions are not yet known. How will ING Belgium respond to this? The CEO pointed out that his bank has already increased savings interest rates in the past year and has also launched new savings formulas. “We have an attractive offer and are among the best on the market,” he said.
Whether there is still room to further increase the savings interest rate was answered with a table showing that the savings interest rate at ING Belgium has followed the evolution of the mortgage interest rate in recent years, while the market interest rate also appears to have passed its peak. The CEO also pointed out that in Belgium, mortgage loans with a fixed interest rate protect the purchasing power of families. “In the debate about savings interest rates, this is often underestimated,” he emphasized.
Also notable was the emphasis on the social role that the bank plays, and for which it must therefore also be profitable. For every euro of capital, ING Belgium provides 20 euros in loans, it said. “In the future, we must orient our business even more towards what is good for the Belgian economy,” the CEO argued, referring to challenges such as the climate transition, the competitive position of Belgian companies or the affordability of pensions. The bank not only wants to be there for the rich, but also wants to help people who are having difficulty managing their budget.