The NBB asks Belgian credit institutions and (re)insurers to refrain from or limit dividends during the first nine months of 2021

The National Bank of Belgium urges Belgian credit institutions and (re)insurers to refrain from or limit their dividend payments during the first nine months of 2021. In addition, the Bank urges them to maintain a cautious attitude towards variable remuneration.

Given the persistent uncertainty regarding both the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 and the persistence of significant downside risks, maintaining a resilient financial sector – through sufficient capital reserves – continues to be of great importance. These reserves should – if necessary – be first and foremost used to absorb losses and ensure the continuity of financial intermediation, and more specifically of lending and insurance activities in favour of the real economy.

Against this background, the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) today issued a new Recommendation calling on the competent and relevant prudential authorities to take the necessary action to only allow dividend payments if strict conditions are met for the period running from 2 January 2021 until 30 September 2021. In its new Recommendation dated 15 December 2020, the ECB, in its capacity as prudential supervisor, followed this Recommendation.

As micro- and macroprudential supervisor, the National Bank of Belgium will also follow the new ESRB Recommendation (ESRB/2020/15) and adapt accordingly its previous Recommendations to the Belgian financial institutions[1] (credit institutions and (re)insurance companies subject to its supervision). Following the publication of the new macroprudential Communication on 18 December, the Bank will soon be publishing an update of its Communication addressed to credit institutions and of its Circular for the insurance sector.

For detailed information on this subject, see: Macroprudential supervision

[1] For macroprudential reasons, this Communication applies to all credit institutions and (re)insurance companies under Belgian law.