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De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) wants to safeguard a stable financial system. This requires sound financial institutions that operate with integrity. This is necessary to ensure a sustainable economy in the Netherlands. We warn against risks that could affect the system as a whole, and issue advice. We also improve the financial system's resilience by demanding that financial institutions reinforce their buffers.

Robust

The financial system is at the heart of the economy. It allows you to save, borrow and invest. It also ensures that you can pay safely and quickly, and that you can cover financial risks that you do not want to or are unable to bear. These things are often taken for granted, but they are essential to the functioning of the economy. That is why it is important that the financial system is robust and that it continues to function under less favourable economic circumstances.

Major risks related to the COVID-19 crisis 

De Nederlandsche Bank monitors the stability of the financial system. Every six months, we publish our Financial Stability Report (FSR), in which we identify the risks to the financial system. We published the most recent version on 26 May 2021. The FSR includes a risk map showing the principal risks to financial stability in the Netherlands. These risks are largely related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis

What are the risks for the financial sector at this moment?

The outlook is bright for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a likelihood, however, of a delayed recovery and a protracted pandemic. The longer the crisis lingers on, the larger the risks for the financial sector will be. For example, government support measures have caused government and business debt levels to soar. The risk of not everyone being able to repay their debts is increasing. Also, financial market prices have gone up further during the pandemic, and there is a real risk of market corrections. In addition, a downturn in real estate markets constitutes a risk for both homeowners and the financial sector. Further risks are related to climate change and the energy transition, the vulnerability of businesses to cyberattacks, and persistently low interest rates.

What is a stable financial system?

A stable financial system continues to function during economic slowdowns, if banks or pension funds run into trouble, or if stock markets crash. In other words, it is a robust and resilient system that can absorb shocks and contribute to sustainable economic growth in the Netherlands. We cannot allow the financial system itself to become a source of disruption in the economy. A stable financial system also guarantees sufficient financial buffers.

Financial Stability brochure

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How does DNB know if the financial system is stable?

We look at various areas to assess the stability of the financial system. To do this, we use a large number of indicators, such as an increasing amount of loans (credit growth), rapidly rising real estate prices and the amount of cash that banks are holding (liquidity). For example, strong credit growth associated with strongly rising real estate prices is often an indication of (future) instability.

Financial stability and cooperation

We chair the Financial Stability Committee, which meets at least twice a year. At international level we participate in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). Our President Klaas Knot is the Vice-Chair of the FSB. Our participation in consultations in The Hague and Brussels is also important.