The new code of conduct on SME financing aims to ensure that entrepreneurs are better informed when they want to obtain financing.
As we already mentioned in an earlier article, a code of conduct had to be drawn up in the context of the Law on the financing of SMEs by the respective interprofessional organisations representing self-employed persons and SMEs, and by the organisation representing the financial sector.
At the time of a financing offer, creditors and credit intermediaries are legally required to supply any information and useful means that can improve access to financing for enterprises.
The way in which this must be done is set forth in the new code of conduct, that replaces the previous code of conduct of 2014 and is binding as from 6 September 2018.
Four new elements are added, namely:
- In case of early reimboursement of the loan, the threshold value for the calculation of the reinvestment fee is increased from EUR 1 to EUR 2 million. As a result, there is also a maximum reimbursement of 6 months interest for financing up to EUR 2 million.
- a web link (www.financieringvanondernemingen.be or www.financementdesentreprises.be) refers to information concerning the main characteristics of the collateral or guarantees that the lender can request and the impact on the credit application.
- the website www.financieringvanondernemingen.be or www.financementdesentreprises.be provides a reference to the most important guidance / support measures and government guarantees. The creditor or credit intermediary will, at the time of the financing offer, make this overview available to the enterprise applying for the financing. Government guarantees must, insofar as they are relevant, be further explained on the basis of the information provided by the entrepreneur.
- If the creditor or credit intermediary refuses to accept a security or guarantee, he must provide the reasons for such refusal in writing. The code of conduct contains a non-exhaustive list of possible reasons for a refusal. If the entrepreneur so wishes, the creditor must explain orally or in writing why he invokes one or more such reasons.