The specialists at our company formation firm are ready to help you know everything about the legislation for foreign investments and help you set up a company and open a bank account in Belgium.
Some examples of popular banks in Belgium include: BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, KBC Groep, Beobank, AXXA Bank Belgium or Argenta. The Belgian Post Office also offers banking services and internet banking facilities. Belgium has a large number of bank branches and electronic banking is widespread.
Individuals or companies that wish to open a bank account in Belgium can choose to work with any of these banks. Below, our agents list some of the biggest banks in the country according to the number of bank branches:
- • KBC/CBC: first of the Belgian banks with a high number of local branches, 653; in 2017 it had total revenues of 7.7 billion Euros;
- • Belfius: 646 branches and a net income in 2017 of 606 million EUR; the operational net income the same year was 615 million EUR (excluding one-off elements);
- • BNP Paribas Fortis: 644 branches and an operating income of 2,950 million euros at the end of 2017, compared to 2,472 million euros at the end of 2016;
- • ING Belgium: 632 branches and 739 million EUR profit for 2017 after tax with an increase of 32,000 active clients and many more new active mobile users.
Please keep in mind that these numbers are adjusted each year and individuals who open a bank account in Belgium may wish to check the most recent data. When needed, our team can provide you with detailed and updated information.
Many banks in Belgium operate using a high or very high number of branches, reflected in the fact that the number of local branches in the country is larger than those in some of the neighboring countries such as the Netherlands or Luxembourg. This can be an important advantage to a client who will open a bank account in Belgium as accessibility will most likely not be an issue irrespective of the city in which he intends to work in or open a business, be it Brussels, Ostend, Ghent or others.
For foreign investors who do business both in Belgium and one of the neighboring countries, choosing the bank to work with when they open a company in Belgium may be influenced by whether or not they already run a company in another country. For example, when a Dutch investor wishes to open a Belgian company (for expansion purposes, for example) he may be interested in choosing the same bank with which he already has a business account with, perhaps ING Belgium if he already uses the services of ING Group which is a Dutch financial institution.
Belgian laws for the banking sector
Belgium is one of the most developed countries in the world when it comes to the banking system, since it has the largest number of bank branches in the world. Therefore, the Belgian electronic banking is spread all over the country, and transactions can be made with a computer or ATM. In addition, some banks operate entirely online and clients can run all operations, such as opening an account or use the investment services provided by the bank, exclusively in this manner.
In terms of charges, each bank has its own system, but all of them tax clients for most products and services. In comparison to UK or USA, Belgium has higher taxes for personal accounts, as each service is taxed separately, such as debit or credit cards or Internet Banking, separate from the charges applied for each transaction.
New rules in the Belgian banking sector
In 2013, the chief ministers of the Belgian government decided to introduce new rules in the banking sector in order to avoid repetition of the
economic crisis that struck the Belgian companies in 2008. The reform has two main objectives, to limit risk behaviors bankers and to strengthen the warranties for investors. Our company formation agents in Belgium can provide accurate information regarding the new banking law in Belgium. Contact us for any additional questions regarding the financial sector in this country and for assistance in case you want to open a bank account in Belgium.
Establishments that receive financial assistance from the state will no longer receive variable compensation, and risk takers will receive bonuses, but they will be limited.
The new banking law in Belgium dated February 2014 contains new rules on supervision, resolution and structure of banking. As the financial crisis has exposed structural underfunding to an acute liquidity of some banks, the European Union Directive 36/2013 aims to address these finding with different measures, such as strengthening the bank’s capital in regards to quantity and quality, and requests greater liquidity to manage the risk on short and long terms.
Our team can help interested individuals learn more about the applicable rules and regulations for banks as well as financial services providers in Belgium. Our team offers assistance throughout the process needed to start the business and this includes opening the bank account and making the initial deposit according to the type of company. Moreover, for companies that will offer financial services, our team can help the founders understand the conditions imposed for providing solutions in this regulated field.