“It is simply too early to give a clear answer on this subject”, estimated Friday Max Jadot, the CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis, during the presentation of the half-yearly results of the bank.
With banks having to pay negative interest for years on money they deposited with the European Central Bank (ECB), interest rates on most regulated savings accounts are currently at a minimum. 0.11% (0.01% base rate and 0.10% loyalty bonus), and this for several years.
At the end of July, the ECB raised its rates to 0% for the first time in eleven years following the explosion of inflation in Europe. Banks no longer have to pay to leave money with the European Central Bank. Moreover, everything points to a further rise in interest rates next week, perhaps by 0.5 or even 0.75 percentage points, noted the head of BNP Paribas Fortis.
Despite this improvement, the country's big banks seem for the moment not to want to also raise interest rates on savings accounts, to the regret of savers, who therefore do not receive a higher remuneration for the money. who is placed there.
“It is too early to say when interest rates will rise,” warned Max Jadot on Friday. Not only does the ECB rate play a role in the decision, but there are also Belgian long-term interest rates, which have risen sharply this year, but fell in July and early August. “In addition, bank taxes are an element of the cost of savings with us and this weighs on the decision”, also indicated the CEO.
A rise in interest rates is however to be expected “if the current trend continues”, he however conceded.
At the beginning of August, the CEO of Belfius, Marc Raisière, said that there was little chance that the banks would increase their savings rates this year. A week later, however, his KBC counterpart Johan Thijs hinted that an interest rate hike could still be a possibility this year.