Belgium is one of the major banking and financial centers of the European Union. Since 1999, Belgium and 10 other countries – EU members have begun the transition to the third phase of construction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in the EU.
This process involving not only close coordination and, to a certain extent, harmonization of budgetary and economic policies of the Member States, but also the introduction of a single currency – the EURO, and the definition and implementation of the single monetary policy of the Member States. Monetary unit of Belgium since 1 January 2002 is the EURO.
Belgian banking system has a high level of concentration of capital. Bank mergers, which began in the 1960s, only strengthened this process. The state owns 50% of the National Bank of Belgium, which serves as the country’s central bank. Belgium has 128 banks, of which 107 are foreign.
The oldest and largest commercial bank, as well as the largest holding company in the country is a “Société Générale de Belgique“. There are also specialized financial institutions – savings banks and agricultural credit funds.
Specificity of the banks, financial and administrative institutions of Brussels is connected with its centuries-old status of the capital city. As the administrative center of the Belgian province of Brabant in the Dutch part of the kingdom, Brussels for many centuries was the financial capital not only of Belgium, but also large parts of Europe.
Several years ago, was formed the Belgian Finance Federation Febelfin (FEBELFIN – Fédération Financière Belge), consisting of six professional associations of the financial sector in Belgium:
– Association of Belgian banks ABB (Association belge des Banques)
– Professional Credit Union UPC (Union Professionnelle du Crédit)
– Belgian Association of collective contributions ABOPC (Association Belge des Organismes de Placement Collectif)
– Belgian Association members exchanges ABMB (Association Belge des Membres de la Bourse)
– Belgian Association manages its capital and advisers to deploy funds ABGC (Association Belge des Gestionnaires de Fortune et Conseillers en Placement)
– Belgian Leasing Association ABL (Association Belge de Leasing)