Germany's banks are tightening the reins: The allowances for negative interest rates are falling again at many institutions.

The direct bank DKB has just lowered the limit to 25,000 euros after having only dropped from 100,000 to 50,000 euros in September.

Since the beginning of the month, the limit for direct bank market leader ING is now 50,000 euros, as is Commerzbank and Postbank.

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in business.

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After the banks had argued for a long time that negative interest rates, credit charges and custody fees only hit a very manageable group of wealthy private customers with very deposits, "the rich" as it were, there is no longer any question of them.

But how do people react?

A study has now looked at it based on a survey.

She still met with little understanding from bank customers for this phenomenon that has been observed at commercial banks since 2015: that people who leave their money to their bank for some time should also pay for it.

79 percent are considering a bank change

In the representative online survey, carried out by the market research company Appinio on behalf of the companies Adesso Experience and PBM Personal Business Machine, 200 bank customers affected by custody fees in Germany were surveyed.

After all, 82 percent of those questioned expressed the opinion that negative interest rates for private customers were “not justified”. And this, although the banks had hardly taken a step to tighten their negative interest rate rules without explaining their point of view: That the European Central Bank (ECB) with its negative interest rates for banks, which the former ECB President Mario Draghi for monetary policy reasons in 2014 had introduced that it was to blame for the negative interest rates that the commercial banks, for their part, now have to collect with a heavy heart from the bank customers. The consumer advice centers had shown on the basis of an annual report that at least some banks have much more income from negative interest than they have to pay to the ECB themselves.

At least 79 percent of the bank customers affected by the negative interest rates said they were now considering switching banks because of the negative interest rates. More than 50 percent of respondents say that the bank did not justify the penalty interest, or at least they cannot remember an explanation. The majority (55 percent) say they have not received any individual solution proposals for the subject of custody fees or at least cannot remember any constructive proposals.

The banks describe it differently.

There would be a lot of questions from bank customers to the advisors if negative interest rates were introduced or tightened, and there was also a lot of resentment.

But it is rare for people to change banks.

A number of bank customers were persuaded to prefer to invest money differently than in overnight money or current accounts.

Some banks advertise equity funds in this context, some also for pension insurance.

A bank customer, for example, who was very old himself, got upset about this and under no circumstances wanted to put his money into a pension scheme again.

However, Commerzbank in particular reported that its customers were remarkably loyal to it despite negative interest rates.