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The Dutch Credit System

Updated on 19 February 2024

The Dutch credit system can be broadly defined as the relationships between persons (legal or natural) who provide loans and persons who take them. Therefore the system operates with credits provided by both non-banking and banking institutions for use by legal or natural persons.

Parties involved in credit transactions

Credit transactions take place between a lender (the person providing the credit) and a debtor (the person benefitting from the credit). Usually, the credit is a monetary amount that needs to be repaid in a particular period of time, including interest, i.e. the benefit (gain) that the creditor receives for lending money to the debtor using the loan. Creditors have claim rights to the loans and can demand their return, including interest, according to the provisions of their agreements with the debtors. The debtor carries the obligation to pay back the loan and interest within a certain time period specified in the agreement.

Loan types in the Netherlands

A PL (personal loan) is a type of credit in the Dutch credit system where the amount, interest rate and term of the loan are specified in an agreement between a bank institution and a debtor. Therefore personal loans have fixed monthly payments consisting of principal and interest.

Dutch revolving credits have a limit indicating the maximum possible amount available as a loan to the debtor. The interest and principal are transferred monthly. In most cases, they are calculated as a fixed percentage with respect to the limit.

Dutch real estate owners can use property tax credits based on the appreciation of goods. Property values (WOZ values) determined by municipalities establish the amounts that may be loaned in property tax credits. Such credits are usually characterised by sharp interest rate increases.

Business loans for financing are concluded between Dutch bank institutions and legal persons. Postbank, Rabobank, ING and ABN AMRO are the most popular banks offering such loans. Business loans are usually concluded by a limited business entity such as the BV company. In such cases, the company is liable for repayment of the loan, not the director of the BV. Read more on directors' liability.

Supplier credits are the most commonly used credits for the purposes of financing businesses. Suppliers provide credits as payments for months or years. These credits have the benefit of not compromising the companies’ liquidity.

In subordinated loans creditors are subordinated in case of debtor bankruptcy, i.e. they are last in the priority order. Such subordination needs to be agreed in a contract.

Credit contracts

The Dutch credit registration agency (BKR) is a significant institution in the framework of the national credit system. It keeps important information with respect to all debtors, creditors and credits in the country through the Credit Registration Database (CKI).

BKR receives all details provided in credit contracts: credit amount, date of conclusion, planned month for full repayment, actual month of full repayment, credit type, details on repayment, the debtor’s personal information (name, birth date, residence, address, personal ID details) and the credit institution’s details.

If you would like to know more about the Dutch credit system, the available loan types and the criteria for eligibility, please, call our business consultants.

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