The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred large human and economic costs and also affected the financial sector. Maintaining own funds in financial institutions is important both for ensuring the resilience of the financial system and supporting banks' lending through this crisis.
Governments, central banks, and authorities around the world have taken powerful measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These measures also helped dampen uncertainty on the financial markets. By utilising available buffers and continuing to lend to firms and households, the financial sector can dampen the impact of the crisis. It is also important to remember that the economic crisis is not over, and uncertainty is therefore high, notes Finansinspektionen (FI) in its first stability report of the year.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an exceptional stress for the real economy. Governments, central banks and supervisory authorities have implemented significant measures to dampen the crisis. This has helped to reduce the uncertainty on the financial markets. But we are in still in the middle of the crisis, and there is considerable uncertainty going forward.
FI decided on 1 April given the acute stage of the coronavirus pandemic to extend the freeze on new supervision investigations until 3 May. This decision will not be extended again, which means that the freeze on ongoing supervision meetings, investigations and information gathering will be lifted starting on 4 May.
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.
The proposal provides mortgage undertakings with the possibility of granting all new and existing mortgagors a temporary exemption from amortisation requirements. The exemption possibility applies during a severe downturn in the Swedish economy. The current situation due to the spread of the corona virus is a clear example of when the exemption may be granted to all mortgagors amortising in accordance with the amortisation regulations.
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.
Due to the current situation with the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, Finansinspektionen has postponed the deadline for the annual reporting on money laundering and financing of terrorism. The deadline has been pushed forward from 31 March 2020 to 30 April 2020.
The spread of the coronavirus has created immediate challenges for society and caused economic disruptions throughout Sweden and the global economy. The forecasts for the Swedish economy are rapidly deteriorating. Therefore, it is important the we safeguard a stable supply of credit to households and firms and maintain good resilience in the system. Banks and credit market companies play a crucial role in this respect.