The Berlin direct bank DKB, actually popular with younger and thrifty customers because of low costs, is lowering its allowance for negative interest. A spokesman confirmed corresponding reports to the F.A.Z. on Thursday. New customers will be charged a 0.5 percent custodial fee on checking and overnight accounts for balances of more than 50,000 euros starting Sept. 1, he said. Previously, the allowance was 100,000 euros.
Existing customers will also no longer be spared the negative interest rates. In the coming days, the bank will contact customers with particularly high deposits to agree on a deposit fee with them.
Due to declining interest margins and significantly increasing deposits, the bank spokesman said that it was forced to pass on the European Central Bank's negative interest rate to customers to a greater extent. Most recently, Commerzbank and Postbank had lowered the limit for negative interest to 50,000 euros. Direct bank ING, a major competitor of DKB, announced the move in November.
Michael Ermrich, president of the East German Savings Banks Association, had said in a Bloomberg interview a few days ago that he expected the industry trend toward charging custody fees to continue while lowering the exemption limits.
The Stuttgart banking professor Hans-Peter Burghof had even expressed the view that it might be the more honest solution if banks charged negative interest to everyone without allowances instead of repeatedly turning the screw on fees. Alternative Bank Switzerland, once one of the pioneers of negative interest rates, had most recently gone down this path.
According to figures from the comparison portal Biallo, 520 institutions in Germany now charge customers negative interest, 483 of which banks and savings banks also charge private customers.