The Belgian does not only have a mortgage loan. He also sometimes has a renovation loan, a car loan, or a line of credit in a supermarket.
Unfortunately, depending on the case, this postponement may not be sufficient to avoid quickly ending up in the red. “According to Statbel figures, the outstanding debt of Belgian households in the context of consumer credit amounted to some 26.8 billion euros“, Test-Achats alert.
Gold, consumer loans are not affected by the agreement concluded between the financial sector and the federal government in order to deal with the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
“Many consumers, with limited savings, must set aside a sum of money each month to pay off a personal loan or line of credit. If they can no longer cope with this crisis, they run the risk that their credit contracts will be terminated. (usually after three months of non-payment). At the present time, therefore, nothing prevents the lender from applying the penalties provided for by law in such a case.”
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Indeed, “if mortgage loans and consumer loans are both intended for individuals, they are governed by separate laws”, explains Peter Dercon, spokesperson for ING. “More precisely, consumer lending law states that a contract is immutable. Thereby, it prohibits any modification of the credit conditions, even by mutual agreement.”
Test-Achats, therefore, calls on the government to “urgently provide for a reorganization of the law relating to consumer credit, following the example of what it has planned for mortgage loans”.
Call your banker
However, in case of serious financial worries, you must immediately contact your banker to discuss with him and try to find a solution according to the recommendations of Febelfin, the representative of the financial sector.
Advice confirmed by Belfius. “If a customer encounters serious financial difficulties despite the postponement of the payment of his mortgage loan, in particular, because he has one or the other installment loan in progress, he must immediately contact his bank branch to try to find a solution”, underlines Ulrike Pommée, the spokeswoman for Belfius. “We cannot generalize on a solution. It will be on a case-by-case basis.”