Negative interest rates from a savings bank on current accounts are permitted under certain circumstances, the regional court has that Leipzig decided. The Sparkasse Vogtland may therefore for new and existing customers who change the account model, one so-called custody fee to raise. This became a lawsuit by the consumer association Saxony rejected. The consumer advice center announced the appeal at the Higher Regional Court in Dresden
In one point, however, the consumer advocates were successful, with an account model for schoolchildren, trainees and students. The account is advertised with complete exemption from fees up to the age of 21, so no custody fee should be charged, the court decided. In principle, however, the Sparkasse can demand a fee as a special service for new contracts - even if account management fees are already being charged for a current account.
It should not be disregarded that the banks by paying deposit interest at the European Central Bank (ECB) for the safekeeping of funds in the current accounts "incur significant financial burdens," said the court. "Although the savings banks are oriented towards the common good, on the other hand they have to align themselves to market conditions and act economically."
Consumer advocates criticize "double pricing"
The background to the proceedings is the earlier plans of Sparkasse Vogtland to charge a custody fee of 1 percent on all new private current accounts with a deposit of EUR 2020 or more from February 5000, 0,7. From the point of view of consumer advocates, the charging of negative interest violates legal regulations and is therefore inadmissible. In addition, the consumer experts criticize "double pricing" through account management fees and negative interest.
In its decision, the court pointed out that the custody fee clause had been published in the price notice. In addition, the Sparkasse had this signed by the customer when the contract was signed. "The custody fee was thus included through an individual agreement, not a clause in general terms and conditions," the court justified.
Most recently, a court ruled that negative interest rates should not simply be displayed on a price display were allowed to be included in existing contracts.
The Sparkasse itself had waived custody fees for new accounts in February 2020. According to an evaluation by the comparison portal Verivox, 367 banks and savings banks are currently charging negative interest rates from their private customers. That is twice as many as six months ago. This is justified with the low interest rate policy of the ECB.
File number: 5 O 640/20