FI's Director General Erik Thedéen took part in a panel discussion during the conference "Consumer Behavior in Financial Markets", arranged by the Swedish House of Finance at the Stockholm School of Economics today.
Many banks are working actively with continuity management and have implemented key measures to reduce the risk of serious disruptions. At the same time, FI sees a need for the banks to further strengthen their continuity management. FI expects the banks to continue to focus on enhancing the resilience of their critical functions. This supervision report describes the areas where FI would like to see improvements.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has published a consumer guide with tips that target insurance customers.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published guidelines on 2 April on the criteria that must be fulfilled in order for measures taken to be viewed as general moratoria. FI considers exemptions from amortisation requirements for mortgages and payment reliefs for small and mid-sized firms in accordance with the Swedish National Debt Office’s loan guarantees to be measures that can be viewed as general moratoria under the guidelines.
FI’s Board of Directors has decided that the proposal communicated on 2 April will go into effect as of today. This means that banks will now be able to grant both new and existing mortgagors exemption from the requirement on amortisation. The exemption gives mortgagors greater financial manoeuvrability in these uncertain times during the spread of COVID-19.
Banks will have the possibility of offering all new and existing mortgagors an exemption from the amortisation requirements due to the spread of the coronavirus and its effects on the Swedish economy. The exemption will be in force until the end of June 2021. This enables Finansinspektionen to provide all mortgagors with greater manoeuvrability in these uncertain times.
The percentage of new mortgagors with a high level of debt in relation to either their income or the value of the home continues to be high. New mortgagors in 2019 increased their average loan-to-income ratio. The average loan-to-value ratio also increased in 2019 among new mortgagors, thus breaking the trend of falling loan-to-value ratios since 2013.
The spread of the coronavirus has introduced considerable challenges for society as a whole, and even the financial system. We find ourselves in an exceptional situation, and uncertainty is widespread. These extraordinary circumstances demand appropriate application of existing regulations, including rules for forbearance and assessment of a significant increase in credit risk.
The rate at which household debt is increasing has slowed the past three years. The two amortisation requirements that FI introduced contributed to this change. But the low interest rates entail risks. The debt of commercial real estate companies has been increasing sharply, and the banks have large exposures to the sector. FI decided today to raise the capital requirements for bank loans for commercial real estate. Erik Thedéen also noted that cyber threats are a challenge facing society as a whole, and cooperation is needed on a broad front.
Finansinspektionen (FI) will prioritise two consumer protection risks for further work in 2020: unaffordable lending and unsuitable advice and distribution of financial products to consumers who were not part of the product’s original intended target market. FI will also assess the adequacy of claims handling for home insurance.