Belgium extends financial relief for SMEs and the self-employed

Belgium extends financial relief for SMEs and the self-employed
The Finance Tower in Brussels. Credit: Belga

The deferral of the repayment of mortgage and professional credits will be extended until the end of the year, Finance Minister Alexander De Croo's office announced on Friday.

"Many self-employed people and SMEs are still in a difficult situation. They are starting up again, but often at a reduced rate. It is essential to have a certain fluidity in the granting of credit," De Croo said

"Access to finance is crucial for the self-employed and SMEs to get through this difficult period, to restart activities and to protect jobs," he added.

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Between the beginning of April and the end of May, Belgian banks granted almost 250,000 deferrals, of which some 118,000 to private individuals and around 130,300 to businesses.

A new €10 billion guarantee scheme will also be introduced for loans to SMEs with a minimum duration of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months. This new guarantee scheme will draw on the existing €50 billion.

"The additional agreement concluded with the Federal Government will provide additional oxygen to the economy and aims to meet the specific needs of companies and SMEs," said Johan Thijs, chairman of Febelfin, the Belgian federation for the financial sector.

"The longer loan maturities in this new guarantee scheme are a structural response to the liquidity needs caused by the corona crisis," he added.

De Croo "will now further legalise the new agreements" and present them to Parliament, according to the press release.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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