Companies too reliant on banks, need other funding, says bank chief

Dutch companies are too reliant on bank loans and need to be open to alternative sources of funding, says Boele Staal, chairman of the Dutch banking association NVB, in Tuesday’s Financieele Dagblad.

In the interview, Staal says new rules on capital requirements and liquidity mean banks are more constrained about what they can do. The new bank tax the Netherlands is planning to introduce will also add to the pressure on loans, he said.
‘Money is becoming more expensive and banks can take fewer risks. In particular, banks are reluctant to lend to innovative companies where the risks are high,’ Staal said.
Compared with the rest of Europe, Dutch banks have a dominant role in the economy, Staal says. ‘Even major shareholders who want to invest in their company first go to a bank,’ he says. ‘Abroad, they are more likely to look at their own financing, partners and investment capital.’
Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say banks are turning off the credit taps. ‘Before the credit crisis, the growth in credit in the Netherlands was 13% to 14%. In February of this year it was 3.7%, so there is still growth,’ says Staal. ‘The only contraction has been in loans under €250,000. No bank will let a viable company go belly up.’

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