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High bank savings in Belgium despite low interest rates

© Belga
© Belga

Belgians continued to save their money during 2017 despite the current low interest rates according to an overview of different banking institutions. In search of better returns, however, bank customers are also turning towards investment products.

At BNP Paribas Fortis, the market leader, total assets in saving accounts amounted to 58.45 billion euros at the end of 2017, a slight decrease compared to 2016. This, according to the bank, can be explained by the conversion last year to regulated saving accounts for individuals with non-regulated accounts.

At KBC, savings amounted to 38.52 billion euros for CBC (Wallonia) and KBC (Flanders and Brussels) together, an increase of 2.14 billion euros (+5, 9%) compared to the previous year.

Belfius recorded an increase by 3 % in regulated saving accounts, reaching a total of 36.2 billion euros. “Many customers use the regulated saving account as a ‘waiting position’ for placing part of their investments in government bonds and other securities”, says Belfius.

Alongside the rise in savings, Belfius observed “an increase in the appetite for products offering potentially higher returns.”

The same goes for AXA, where investment funds are popular. The outstanding amount of savings fell slightly (-1.5%) at AXA, to 12.9 billion euros. “More and more customers want to invest their money, so they’re likely to leave more money in their current accounts and wait for the right opportunity to invest,” says AXA.

Argenta recorded a historically high amount in saving accounts or 23.1 billion euros at the end of 2017.

According to Argenta, “Investors realize that the low interest rate period will continue for some time and that their money will continue to lose value, so they are looking for a higher return and are willing to invest more of their savings in a more aggressive way. We expect this trend to continue this year without causing significant declines in savings. “

ING has seen a slight increase in the amount of savings from 30.1 billion to 30.4 billion euros.

The Brussels Times