Belgians withdraw savings from Fortis and Dexia

6th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

It is understood the two high street banks have lost deposits worth 10 billion euros.

Many Belgians have withdrawn deposits from their savings accounts at banks that have been at the heart of the financial storm that hit the global economy in 2008. Confidence in the banks suffered a bad blow in 2008. It is understood the two high street banks have lost deposits worth 10 billion euros.

Deposits at other banks rose by some 8.5 billion in the same period.

The figures come from the financial daily De Tijd. Last year Dexia, the main provider of cash for Belgium's local authorities, needed a government cash injection.

The future of Fortis is uncertain. The group's banking activities were nationalised with the intention of selling these activities to BNP Paribas of France, but a court has now ordered that the shareholders, who lost a lot of money in the nationalisation, now also have a say on the sale.

Each year De Tijd asks twelve banks active in Belgium for information about the size of deposits held. Last year's figures show big transfers away from Fortis and Dexia to other banks.

If there are losers...

Deutsche Bank and KBC are the big winners. Deutsche Bank increased its deposits by 3 billion last year, KBC by 2 billion.

The Dutch bank ING and other smaller operators also increased their market share.

Dexia saw its deposits fall by 1.4 billion in 2008.

Fortis is not releasing any figures, but De Tijd believes the figure must be around 10 billion.

The crisis on the world's stock exchanges has also increased the popularity of safer forms of investments and fixed term accounts.

Marina De Moerlooze of the Belgian Federation of Banks says that in mid 2008 savings accounts had become less popular, but by the end of the year Belgians had more invested on fixed term accounts and investment accounts than at the beginning.


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