Turning "red": Belgian junior minister reminds banks, also KBC, of consumer credit rules
Belgian junior minister for Budget and Consumer Protection, Eva De Bleeker (Open VLD), is in consultation with the banking sector about consumer credit, responding to the fuss that arose on social media this Monday 12 September due to a marketing push message from the Belgian bank KBC.
She calls on them "to continue to closely monitor the feasibility of this type of credit and to evaluate both products and marketing".
The major bank posted the option to go "in the red" (creating negative balance or debt) in its app. "Need an extra budget to get through the autumn months? Go temporarily to 750 euros below zero in your account," was the message. The reaction was considered indignant, because this is an expensive form of credit —with an interest rate of more than 9 percent— that threatens to bring people who are already struggling even more into financial problems.
At KBC, employees are annoyed with the issue. The spokesperson emphasizes that this is a general mailing via the app, which is also used for many other products. "It is certainly not about targeted advertising. It was also not the intention to make a link with the energy crisis," he says. The spokesperson adds that such consumer credit is only useful for the short term, precisely because of the relatively high interest rates. "Not all customers will be allocated a credit like this. Our message remains: talk to your banker if you expect financial problems".
De Bleeker also added that KBC seems to have respected the strict rules for advertising around consumer loans here, "subject to further investigation by the Economic Inspectorate". "In addition, there is also the general rule that a bank may not grant consumer credit that is not feasible for the consumer".
The State Secretary calls on the Belgian banks to continue to follow these rules closely.
© BELGA PHOTO (BENOIT DOPPAGNE)