Overview of Banks in Belgium
The banks in Belgium are known to be one of the most liberal and sophisticated system around the globe. Belgium ranks third in Europe in terms of the density of bank branches. There are over 140 branches operational in Belgium. Additionally, it is one of the leading providers of electronic banking services with more than 90% of the transactions conducted electronically.
Unique and standardized customer accounts for financial intermediaries are used with excellent development of Internet and Phone banking. There are no restrictions imposed on the movement of Capital with minimal regulatory requirements. A wide and flexible range of services are offered to the customers without any discrimination in terms of nationality. This aspect enhances the volume of international banking transactions conducted and with an efficient branch network, a large number of domestic and international banks are servicing from Belgium.
Structure of Banks in Belgium
The Banks in Belgium can be classified as:
- Domestic Banks
- Foreign Banks
Further, the activities are circulating around two activities namely Wholesale and Retail BankingRetail BankingRetail banking or personal banking refers to the financial services offered by the financial institutions exclusively to the individual clients. The consumer banking provides personal loan, savings account, debit cards, credit cards, locker, etc.. This ensures optimal efficiency and a rapid decision-making process. This helps in keeping the structure lean and efficient.
List of Top 10 Banks in Belgium
- Argenta Bank
- BNP Paribus Fortis
- KBC Bank
- AXA Bank – Belgium
- ING Belgium
- ING Belgium
- Key-Trade Bank
- Delen Private Bank
Let’s look at each one of these in detail –
#1. Argenta Bank
This is the fourth largest bank in Belgium established since 1956 with its headquarters in Antwerp. All the group activities consist of products like Savings, Loans, distribution of collective investments and offering of Life and Non-life insurance products. It is also actively operational in Netherlands and Luxemburg. For the first half of 2017, it recorded a net profit of 109 million euros.
#2. BNP Paribus Fortis
It is a universal bank and a subsidiary of BNP Paribus operating in Belgium offering 3 core services namely:
- Retail Banking
- Corporate & Institutional Banking
- Investment Solutions
The bank is the largest operating unit in Belgium headquartered in Brussels employing over 18,000 staff members. For the first half of 2017, the Net Income for Shareholders was recorded at 1.0 billion euros.
#3. KBC Bank
This bank is an acronym for ‘Kredietbank ABB Insurance CERA Bank’ and is the second-largest bank in Belgium established since 1973 with headquarters in Brussels. It is actively involved in:
- Retail Banking
- Asset ManagementAsset ManagementAsset management is a method of managing funds and investing in both traditional and specialized products in order to generate returns consistent with the investor's risk tolerance.
- Debt capital markets,
- Domestic cash equity markets
- Corporate Banking
- ReinsuranceReinsuranceReinsurance is a tool used by the insurance companies to reduce their claim liability by getting some of it insured by another company. It helps prevent insurance companies from insolvency. The company insuring the claims is called the ‘Reinsurer’ and the company getting insured is called the ‘Ceding company’.
- Private Equity
The focus of the bank is on private clients, small and medium sized enterprises. The Net Income for 1H17 was 1.4 billion Euros with Total Assets of 296 billion euros.
#4. AXA Bank – Belgium
This bank was established in 1881 specialising in Retail Banking and Financial services. The headquarters are located in Brussels with close cooperation from AXA’s local insurance companies to complement their financial products. The other specialisation consists of Savings accounts, Short-terms and instalment loans, Home and Repair loans, Repair Credits etc.
#5. ING Belgium
This bank operates as a subsidiary of the ING Group which is an International Banking Institution in 1998 which was initially known as Bank Brussel Lambert. The bank offers extensive services pertaining to Retail and Commercial banking to Individuals and Companies. It also offers various loan facilities for home, vehicles and bridge loanBridge LoanA bridge loan is a short-term financing option for homeowners looking to replace their current home and pay off their mortgage either by paying interest on a regular basis or by paying a lump sum interest when the loan is paid off. arrangements along with Bank Guarantees. Asset management services are also offered which helps in expanding their customer base. It caters to the European regions with its headquarters located in Brussels. The bank has reported a Total Net Income of $4 billion and total assets of $176 billion for 2016.
This institution came into recognition post the merger of Lanbouwkrediet and Centea in 2013. Initially, the focus was a Co-operative bank with core focus on agricultural sector. The commercial and retail banking activities have also grown at heights of the agricultural interests. It offers assistance in terms of:
- Daily farming activities
- Seasonal Planting
- Purchase of Equipment’s
- Business Credit for Renovation, Investments and other associated applications
The Net Income for 2016 has been recorded at EUR 55.2 million having an increase of 36% compared with previous year. The headquarters of the bank are located in Brussels and it employs around 1,700 staff members.
It is a branch of the Dutch Financial group – Rabobank International and it offers services of Leverage Finance, Debt RestructuringDebt RestructuringDebt restructuring is a refinancing process whereby the company facing cash flow issues arranges with lenders to renegotiate favourable or flexible terms, saving themselves from bankruptcy. The lenders may choose to lower the business rate or increase the time limit for paying the interest and principal amount. and Global Financial Markets (Securitization, Derivatives and Loan SyndicationLoan SyndicationA loan syndication is an arrangement in which multiple lenders pool their resources to lend to a single entity. It is done to meet a borrower's large requirements, and the lenders are typically banks and other financial institutions.). They also offer Retail banking services with special thrust on Internet banking.
For Corporate customers, provisions for Structured Trade & CommodityCommodityA commodity refers to a good convertible into another product or service of more value through trade and commerce activities. It serves as an input or raw material for the manufacturing and production units. Finance are also made. The net profit for 1H17 stood at 1.51 million euros and a high credit rating by the leading agencies.
#8. Europa Bank
This bank is of Belgian origin established in 1964 at the helm of the International Bank of Washington. They are primarily engaged in offering services to the Shipping and Insurance industry. The main products and services offered are:
- Consumer LoansConsumer LoansA consumer loan is a type of credit given to a consumer to finance specified set of expenditures. The borrower must pledge a specific asset as collateral for the loan, or it may be unsecured depending on the loan's monetary value.
- Mortgage Services
- Savings Accounts
- Investment Credit
- Credit Card business
#9. Key-trade Bank
A financial institution based in Belgium with subsidiaries in Luxembourg offering banking and trading services with special emphasis on online activities. In terms of banking activities, regular retail banking services are offered including:
- Current Account services yielding 1% and 5 cents for each transaction executed
- Savings Account with an interest rate of 1.50% and 0.40% of fidelity premium
- Term Account between 1 week and 1 year
They are also established in trading activities with access to a range of products such as Stocks, Bonds, Mutual funds, Options, and Warrants. They also deal with trading platforms for new products accessible only to professional investors. It makes the process easier to invest in Forex and Futures Market.
#10. Delen Private Bank
This is a Belgian bank specializing in Stock Broking and Wealth Management. It has branches spread across Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg under the supervision of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and FSMA (Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority). It offers specialized services in Asset Management inclusive of Discretionary Management. It also offers real estate planning services.
The group’s general banking activities with a focus on SME’s, Professionals and Self-employed fall under the affiliate Bank J.Van Breda & C. As of 2016, the Net Profit was around 80 million euros.
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