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Belgium

Basics
Banks
Dodgy Deals
Companies

Banking landscape

Belgium's small economy is highly open and export-oriented, and consequently the country was significantly impacted by the global financial crisis and the problems of the Eurozone. Belgian banks were severely affected, and three of the country's major banks received capital injections from the government.

After the 2008 banking crisis, the government came to the rescue of three of the major banks, KBC, Dexia and Fortis. KBC received a capital injection of €7bn from the Federal and Flemish regional governments, and was required to sell a number of its foreign subsidiaries. Dexia received a bail-out of €3bn in 2008, but hit further trouble in 2011. As a result, its Belgian division was nationalised and rebranded in 2012 as Belfius, while its foreign subsidiaries were sold off. Fortis was nationalized by Dutch and Belgian authorities, and the Belgian subsidiary sold to BNP Paribas.

Following these dramatic reorganisations, the Belgian banking sector is significantly reduced in size, and its national banks have refocused on their national operations. The largest banks in Belgium are KBC, Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, and ING Belgium, which between them account for more than 65% of the entire sector (EBF), operating alongside a large number of international banks, predominantly Axa Bank, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, as well as the ethical bank Triodos.

A number of co-operative banks used to exist in Belgium, the largest of which were Bacob Group and Cera Group, however these have since been merged into larger banks.

Bank regulation

Regulation of the Belgian financial system was reorganised in 2011 to follow a "twin peaks" regulatory model similar to that used in the Netherlands and Australia. The banking system is governed by the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and the central bank, the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).

The FSMA is an autonomous public institution, and is in charge of supervising financial markets and products as well as consumer protection in the field of financial services. The NBB has, since 2011, taken over responsibility for prudential supervision of banks; i.e. ensuring that the financial institutions are properly organised and maintain appropriate levels of solvency, liquidity and profitability.

Independent sustainability and reform initiatives

Belgian BankTrack member FairFin ranks all of the major Belgian banks according to their risk of harmful investments. 

Belgium

Population: 10,444,268 (July 2013 est.)

GDP: $427.2 billion (PPP - 2012 est.)


working partners
Belfius
At the end of 2011 the former Dexia Group (France/Belgium/Luxembourg) went through a major restructuring. The state of Belgium became the owner of the Dexia Bank Belgium.…
KBC
KBC is established in 1998 from a merger between two Belgian banks (the Kredietbank and CERA Bank) and the Belgian insurance company ABB. KBC is an integrated bancassurance…

Belgium

Population: 10,444,268 (July 2013 est.)

GDP: $427.2 billion (PPP - 2012 est.)


working partners
Dodgy Deals abroad financed by banks from Belgium
Mochovce nuclear power plant (units 3 & 4)
Slovakia
co financed by KBC
The building of Slovakia's Mochovce 3 and 4 nuclear reactors is the longest running nuclear construction project anywhere in Europe. The reactors were designed by the Soviet…
check dodgy deals on record

Belgium

Population: 10,444,268 (July 2013 est.)

GDP: $427.2 billion (PPP - 2012 est.)


working partners
Companies abroad financed by banks from Belgium
Adani
India
co financed by KBC
Adani is a large Indian resources, logistics and energy company with big expansion plans. It was founded by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, in 1988. It has coal mining interests…
EDF
France
co financed by KBC
Like its rival and fellow French multinational AREVA, Électricité de France (EDF) is one of the biggest players in the global energy game. In fact, with more…
Glencore
Switzerland
co financed by KBC
Glencore plc (formerly Glencore Xstrata) is an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company. The company was created through a merger of Glencore with Xstrata…
Rio Tinto
Australia
co financed by KBC
Rio Tinto is a mining and exploration company involved in each stage of metal and mineral production and processing. Rio Tinto is one of the largest publicly listed mining…
Sime Darby
Malaysia
co financed by KBC
Sime Darby is a Malaysian multinational conglomerate that has operations in the plantations, property, healthcare, the energy and utilities sector. It was founded in 1910…
Wilmar Group
Singapore
co financed by KBC
Wilmar International (WLIL.SI), founded in 1991 and headquartered in Singapore is one of the world's largest agribusinesses. It is involved in a wide range of businesses,…
check company profiles on record

Belgium

Population: 10,444,268 (July 2013 est.)

GDP: $427.2 billion (PPP - 2012 est.)


working partners
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