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.
FI will explore the possibility of advocating both nationally and internationally increased disclosure of firms’ internal carbon pricing.
This FI Analysis shows that the the increase in house prices is the primary reason it has become more difficult for young adults to buy a home.
The low interest rates are expected to remain low for a longer period of time. It could lead to greater risk-taking among various actors, and increased challenges for insurance undertakings.
FI is publishing a Q&A on new rules that will go into effect on 14 September.
The majority of consumption loans (non-mortgage loans) are small and have a high interest rate and a short maturity. However, it is households with large loans that represent the largest share of new lending, and these loans are growing at the fastest rate. The households with the highest income take out the largest loans. If the interest rate increases, many borrowers will need to use a large part of their income to make their interest and amortisation payments. This is evident in Finansinspektionen’s (FI’s) analysis of consumption loans, Swedish Consumption Loans.
Both the global and the Swedish economies appear to be slowing down. Low interest rates – which have resulted in high risk-taking and rising asset prices – are expected to remain low for a prolonged period of time. Resilience in the Swedish financial system is satisfactory in general. However, even if the banks’ resilience is satisfactory overall, FI makes the assessment that they need more capital to cover the risks in their lending to commercial real estate firms.
FI’s Director General participated in the seminar Evolution of Mortgage Finance arranged by Stabelo for a broad group of institutional investors.
In this report, Finansinspektionen (FI) presents the most prioritised consumer risks it has identified for 2019. FI also presents the experiences from its consumer protection work over the past year. Finally, FI identifies two areas on the financial market where consumer protection is clearly deficient and proposes regulatory changes to fill these gaps.
High debt can mean risks for individual households, banks, financial stability and macroeconomic development. The mortgage survey serves as an important basis for the assessment of the risks associated with household debt.