Extreme differences in social loans in Belgium

With some Belgian social lenders, mortgage loans are more expensive than expected. A survey by the consumer organization Test-Achats, about which the Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported, shows that in many cases the interest at social lenders is even higher than at the regular bank.

Social loans in Belgium are not always "social".
Social loans in Belgium are not always "social".

For the research, rates were requested from the social loan providers in the Flemish and Brussels regions in March. These data showed that some institutions use higher rates than the traditional bank and that there are large differences in the rates among the companies. The Belgian newspaper De Morgen writes: "The families with a low income who assume that they can already borrow cheaper from a social credit company than from the bank, are disappointed".

The social lenders grant social loans for buying, building or maintaining a modest home. There are two types of credit companies, the subsidized and the non-subsidized. Kempens Woonkrediet is a lender that is not subsidized by the government and recognizes the problems. Employee Erik Peeters: "Yes, we receive complaints from dissatisfied borrowers, but we cannot do anything about it. We depend on politics for our rates. The Flemish government leaves the social credit companies in the cold. We often have her there. pointed out. "

For a loan of 100,000 US dollars over twenty years, the Kempens Woonkrediet is more than 39,000 US dollars more expensive in repayments than the subsidized Vlaams Woningfonds. It can be even more extreme: The Brussels social credit company Petit Propriétaire is even more than 47,500 US dollars more expensive than the Flemish Housing Fund.

Test-Achats wants the regional governments to quickly put an end to the tangle of social loans. "Such enormous differences cannot be justified. The social loans are not always social and miss their target", says financial expert Yves Evenepoel of Test-Achats. "Incidentally, there are no problems today. We have been receiving complaints about social loans for twenty years."

At the end of last year, the political party New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) already advocated a merger of the Flemish Housing Fund, the Flemish Social Housing Company and companies such as Kempens Woonkrediet. Flemish minister Freya Van den Bossche (Energy, Housing, Cities and Social Economy) emphasizes that this reform has been approved by the Flemish government and that centralization has been initiated at the Flemish level.

Published August 7, 2011 at 7:39 PM by the editors .

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