The Law of 19 April 2014 introduced the statuses of lender and of intermediary in mortgage credit and consumer credit into Book VII of the Economic Law Code. In this regard, the Royal Decree of 29 October 2015 lays down the conditions which applications for registration or authorization must fulfil.
In order to offer consumers better protection, there are requirements regarding, among other things, the fitness and propriety and the professional knowledge of persons who serve as credit intermediaries. They will have to submit a certificate of senior secondary education and demonstrate their professional knowledge by passing an exam. The same approach is used in this regard as for other financial intermediaries (banking agents, insurance brokers, etc.) that must be registered with the FSMA. For some people who are already active in the banking or insurance sector, a transitional regime is provided.
New lenders and credit intermediaries can submit their application starting on 2 November 2015. For existing lenders and credit intermediaries, there is an 18-month transitional period during which they may submit their application. For credit intermediaries with less than one year's experience, the transitional period is limited to 2 months.
The Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy has published on its website the list (available only in French or Dutch) of existing intermediaries in consumer credit, stating the date of their registration. Using this list, it is possible to determine which intermediaries are eligible for the transitional regime. For mortgage credit, the obligation to register is new and therefore no list can be published.
The FSMA publishes on its website the lists of lenders in mortgage and in consumer credit that have received provisional authorization. It will update each week the list on its website of the credit intermediaries registered and the lenders authorized under the new legislation.
In order to enable the sector to prepare thoroughly for the entry into force of the new legislation, the FSMA has developed an informational website. The mcc-info.fsma.be site (available only in French or Dutch) sets out the conditions and procedures for registration and authorization using videos and thematically arranged FAQs. The site also provides models of the documents that applicants for registration or authorization must fill out.
Both lenders and intermediaries in mortgage and consumer credit must submit their application via an online application that will be operational from 2 November 2015. This is the only valid way to submit the application.
The Economic Inspection directorate of the FPS Economy continues to be competent for supervision of the regulations governing credit provision. "If there are problems with a lender or credit intermediary, consumers can submit a complaint with the FPS Economy via economie.fgov.be. These new rules ensure that not just anyone can become a credit intermediary. An important step toward better consumer protection", the SPF Economy and the FSMA have noted.