Frankfurt / Berlin (dpa) - Higher fees or even penalty interest for savings bank customers are likely in the opinion of the umbrella organization DSGV.

The monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) caused "immense economic and economic costs," said the President of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV), Helmut Schleweis, the "Handelsblatt". "Somebody has to pay. The savings banks' ability to cushion this is finite. »However, pricing is the responsibility of every single institution.

With its negative interest rate policy, the ECB is putting "the previous economic rules of the game out of force", said Schleweis. "We have long pointed out that the effects of one day will reach the general public."

Although negative interest rates contradict "the basic conviction of every Savings Banks Board," stressed the Savings Banks President. However, Schleweis said at the same time: "If it takes money in the long run to accept deposits, and if you have to give interest to borrowers at the same time, somebody will have to pay."

Commercial banks have had to pay interest since mid-June 2014 when they park money with the ECB. Currently, the central bank demands 0.4 percent penalty interest. ECB President Mario Draghi had hinted that this negative deposit rate could be further reduced - possibly at the next ECB meeting on 12 September. With this, the monetary authorities want to boost lending and thus the economy in the euro area. Even now, the negative interest rate alone costs banks in Germany about 2.3 billion euros a year.

Individual institutions have for some time passed on the ECB's punitive interest rates to companies or large investors such as funds. And even wealthy private customers are asked to pay in some houses. The majority of private customers, however, has so far been spared from punitive interest - too great is the concern to baffle customers. The Federal Ministry of Finance is currently investigating whether it is legally possible to protect small savers from negative interest rates.

Time series ECB interest rates

ECB rate decision 25.7.2019

Draghi inaugural statement 25.7.2019

Interview BdB Chief Executive Krautscheid

Biallo at penalty interest

Söder in the "Bild" newspaper

Interview Schleweis «Handelsblatt» 29.8.2019 (with payment barrier)