More and more banks are introducing negative interest rates for private customers as well. However, who could be affected and to what extent is different. The federal government now wants to ensure legal clarity.

Rand six years after the introduction of negative interest rates by the European Central Bank, negative interest rates and custody fees from banks for private customers continue to spread – and call the federal government into action. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had the legality of negative interest rates checked and does not rule out government intervention because of the burdens on savers. For banks, however, “based on the current legal situation, there are high legal risks to unilaterally pass on the expenses for negative interest to their customers within existing contracts”. The ministry confirmed a corresponding report by the “Passauer Neue Presse” on Monday.

Often, however, the regulations are relatively complicated and by no means apply to all customers equally. On Monday, for example, the Internet portal Verivox reported that the Bremische Volksbank had shown negative interest rates of 0.5 percent for private checking accounts in its price notice since Friday and limited the exemption for four out of five account models to just 5,000 euros. Only with the premium account is an allowance of 10,000 euros granted. The negative interest rate is levied on overnight money from an allowance of 100,000 euros.