Ukrainian refugees have opened more than 23,000 Belgian bank accounts so far
Within two months, the number of bank accounts opened by Ukrainian refugees in Belgium has doubled. The counter now stands at 23,309 bank accounts compared to 11,292 at the beginning of May, reports Febelfin, the umbrella federation of the Belgian banking sector. More than 49,600 Ukrainian refugees have received a protection certificate in Belgium since the start of the war in Ukraine. "The number of newly opened accounts is roughly in line with the number of Ukrainian citizens coming to Belgium," adds a Febelfin spokesperson.
Belgian banks offer Ukrainian refugees a basic banking service. This means that they can open a current account for a limited fee in order to withdraw money or make transfers. Ukrainian refugees can also receive a salary or social benefit from the bank accounts. This makes it "easier to participate in society", writes Febelfin. The umbrella federation emphasises the good cooperation with the authorities and various organisations, such as Fedasil, in their communication and services to the Ukrainian citizens.
Since June, Ukrainian refugees in Belgium can exchange up to 10,000 grivna, the Ukrainian currency, into euros. That is the equivalent of 300 euros. Before that, there were problems with Ukrainian citizens who could not exchange their grivnas or withdraw money from their accounts. Meanwhile, 475 transactions were carried out, exchanging on average 7,855 grivna (236 euros). Febelfin emphasises that these figures only apply to Belgian banks. They do not include transactions carried out at the counters of the National Bank of Belgium.
© BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE