Chances are slim that Belgium will experience another banking crisis, says Finance minister
There is little chance of a new banking crisis in Belgium, despite anxiety on the financial markets following the failure of two US banks and its impact on Credit Suisse, Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem said Saturday on Flemish public radio.
"We still have unpleasant memories of the 2008 financial crisis, but steps were taken back then to improve banks' creditworthiness, tighten buffers and strengthen the deposit and guarantee system," Van Peteghem stated.
Credit Suisse's top management is set to meet with the Swiss finance regulator this weekend over solutions for the bank, now that it has been sucked into the downward spiral caused by the collapse of two US banks. The bank was already granted 50 billion Swiss francs in support by the Swiss central bank.
"We have seen a number of banks toppled during the financial crisis, but we also have to realise that steps have since been taken to make banks stronger and more resilient."
According to Belgian Finance minister van Peteghem, this shows that the central bank has indicated it still has confidence in Credit Suisse. He is monitoring the situation closely with the National Bank of Belgium and the European Central Bank, but does not expect any problems for Belgian banks if a prominent player like Credit Suisse were to fail. "You can never claim with certainty that there will be no impact, but we see today that the risk is minimal," Van Peteghem said. "We have seen a number of banks toppled during the financial crisis, but we also have to realise that steps have since been taken to make banks stronger and more resilient."
Earlier on Saturday, the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) also addressed recent worries about a new financial crisis and stock market turmoil after the collapse of US bank Silicon Valley Bank. NBB governor Pierre Wunsch stated that Belgium's banks are "among the strongest in Europe" and finds it "very difficult today to see a scenario where we slip into a financial crisis".
Belgium's Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK