Passau (AFP) Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) considers the fear of many German savers against penalty interest unfounded. "I do not believe that private customers in Germany nationwide expect negative rates," he said the "Passauer Neue Presse" on Thursday. Most contracts of savings customers with their banks did not allow penalty interest. "The bank directors are smart enough to grasp what they did with such punitive interest." However, the government is monitoring the situation and examining its options for action.