Frans van der Horst on payment issues for retail clients

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Payment issues are a major hidden problem in the Netherlands, which the outbreak of coronavirus has intensified and brought more into the open.

The government has taken measures and banks are offering a payment holiday. But what if a deferral isn’t enough? In this video, Retail Banking’s CEO Frans van der Horst explains what ABN AMRO can offer in the way of help to its clients. And what clients can do themselves: “The most important thing for clients is to contact the bank in time – the sooner, the better. Together we’ll look for an appropriate solution.”

1.3 million Dutch households are facing payment issues

Even without the coronavirus, debt is a major social problem. One-third of Dutch households have a hard time making ends meet and over 1.3 million households struggle to pay their bills. That’s why this is a high priority at ABN AMRO at all times and we offer a range of options to help solve the issue, together with our clients.

Prevention is better than cure

ABN AMRO is very big on prevention. We’ve developed education programmes for schools, collaborate with other players in the market, work with budget coaches and run a prevention scheme in which we pro-actively approach clients with payment issues and together look for the most appropriate solution. After all, prevention is better than cure.

In some cases, clients contact us because they see problems ahead, for instance if they lose their jobs. Once contact is established, an adviser will take the client through what we call a Geldfit financial fitness test, which gives insight into their financial situation. Clients are offered free personal advice and practical tips. Where necessary, we’ll refer clients to an ABN AMRO Financial Grip Coach.

Looking for a solution together

As Frans van der Horst observes in the video, the most important thing is that clients get in touch as soon as possible when they’re in financial difficulty or see financial troubles ahead. Together we’ll look into the cause of the problems and identify how these might be addressed.

Possible solutions include a temporary reduction in monthly payments on a loan (both interest and repayment), if a client has lost their job, for instance. This helps them to bridge a period of reduced income until they find a new job. There are various options for ABN AMRO’s mortgage clients as well, one of them being a temporary halt to monthly payments. An alternative would be to alter the mortgage by changing the interest rate, extending the term to maturity or by changing the type of mortgage repayments.

Once the new agreement is in place, we stay in touch to prevent similar situations arising in the future.

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