Revolt against arbitrary interest rates

For a long time, banks have adjusted the interest rates quite freely on savings contracts. The Federal Court of Justice has set limits. Now consumer advocates want to enforce back payments to every saver.

Et affects thousands of savers all over Germany, and in most cases it is about several thousand euros each: The consumer advice centers have examined long-term savings contracts, mostly from savings banks. And they come to the conclusion that in many cases the adjustment of interest rates over the years has not been lawful. The interest rates in these savings contracts were variable, and the contracts were often only vaguely indicated according to which criteria the respective credit institution would adjust the interest rates. This was often not clearly visible to the bank customer. In the meantime, however, there is a decision by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), which has formulated at least certain minimum requirements for such interest rate adjustment clauses.

The consumer advice centers derive from this the demand for back payments by the financial institutions for the bank customers concerned with these savings contracts. It should go to sums between 200 and about 13,000 euros per savings contract. “On average, the differences are around 2,000 to 3,000 euros,” says Andrea Heyer, head of the finance department at the Saxony consumer center. The topic first appeared in the new federal states. From Saxony alone, 600 consumers have submitted their savings contracts to the consumer advice center for review. However, there are now contracts from all parts of Germany. The Baden-Württemberg consumer center, which had sued banks for negative interest rates, has also intervened and is planning steps, as reported by its financial expert Niels Nauhauser.