Commitment 2: Financial institutions will maintain a diversified landscape and will continue to strive for a lower risk profile

Executive summary

  • The Belgian distribution model offers the best of both worlds: an extensive network of branches and a significant multi-channel offer.
  • A landscape with small and large banks, niche banks, savings banks and universal banks best meets the needs of people, the economy and society in Belgium.
  • It is expected that the number of branches and employment within these branches will decline in the future.
  • A banking model is never in itself high-risk, only the activities in which financial institutions engage can be, to a lesser or greater degree.
  • Banks in Belgium have dramatically scaled down their high-risk activities. However, there is no such thing as a banking system without risks. Good governance and control, as well as an effective supervisory model are therefore needed.
  • SMEs that operate internationally need banks that not only offer retail activities but also provide access to capital markets, for example to be able to hedge interest rate risks or perform capital transactions. Universal banks have their role to play in that regard.