Why savings rates in Belgium are so low?

Dutch savings banks often offer significantly higher interest rates in Germany than to savers in the Netherlands. In Belgium, on the other hand, savings rates are much lower. Why is it so?

For example, Dutch customers of ING receive a 1.25 percent interest rate on their savings accounts. In Germany, savers receive a 3.5 percent interest rate, as calculated by the comparison website Geld.nl.

One reason for the high interest rates is that there are many more different savings banks active in Germany than in the Netherlands. “Banks have more competition and therefore need to make more effort to attract savers through high interest rates,” explains Amanda Bulthuis of Geld.nl.

For foreign banks, it is also necessary to offer a higher interest rate to persuade savers to save with a foreign bank. “In Germany, we are seen as a foreign bank,” says Richard Leijnse of the investment bank NIBC.

“Just like Dutch savers do not easily save with a foreign bank, German savers do not do so either. Therefore, we often have to offer a slightly higher interest rate than domestic banks.”

Lower Savings Rates in Belgium

In Belgium, on the other hand, savings rates are much lower than in the Netherlands. The base interest rate that savers receive is more than half lower at banks like ING, bunq, and Triodos Bank than the interest rate Dutch savers receive at these banks.

Foreign banks also often offer slightly higher interest rates there. Because domestic savings rates are much lower, foreign banks do not need to offer much higher interest rates to surpass them.

The Belgian government has also criticized Belgian savings banks.

“The government thought: we need to do something to get the market moving. That’s why the State is now issuing State Bonds that allow residents to lock their money with the Belgian government for a year at an interest rate of 2.81 percent,” explains Bulthuis.

As a result, many Belgians have withdrawn their savings from banks. This puts additional pressure on Belgian banks to increase their savings rates. Whether this helps is still uncertain. Belgian banks have not yet increased their interest rates.

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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