Making the banking sector more resilient and reducing household debt in the Netherlands


OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.


Making the Banking Sector More Resilient and Reducing Household Debt in the Netherlands

Dutch banks were put under heavy strains early in the global downturn and have comparatively weak financial buffers to cope with new shocks. Falling house prices have increased the share of households with negative home equity to nearly 35% for home-owning households and 40% for mortgage holders. Even though defaults have so far been limited, mortgage amortisation is low and risks are concentrated among younger borrowers who often do not have sufficient resources to cope with adverse shocks. Banks are very large relative to the size of the domestic economy, have sizeable cross-border exposures and rely significantly on wholesale funding. Resolution procedures should be strengthened to reduce the potential cost for the taxpayer and the regulator’s tools available to reduce risks should be expanded. In particular, banks should set aside sufficient provisions for expected losses and problem loans, which requires some harmonisation of the definition of non-performing loans across banks. Higher capital buffers would bolster financial stability and help ensure access to market funding while lowering its cost. Welcome measures have been taken to encourage household deleveraging, but deeper and broader steps are needed to bolster financial stability and improve consumer protection when the housing market starts to recover durably and over the medium term. The stock of existing mortgages should be gradually converted into amortising mortgages, the cap on the loanto- value ratio reduced significantly below 100% and housing subsidies to homeownership cut more decisively. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of the Netherlands (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-netherlands.htm).


English

Keywords: mortgages, house prices, banks, financial stability, capital, amortisation, non-performing loans, Netherlands, household, deleveraging

JEL:
D14: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Household Saving; Personal Finance;
G28: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation;
D18: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Consumer Protection;
G21: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages