The first banks and savings banks have abolished their penalty interest rates as part of the interest rate turnaround by the ECB. Since 2020, Thuringia's municipalities have also been asked to pay - and for some the amounts have increased.
Erfurt (dpa/th) - Numerous Thuringian municipalities have had to pay penalty interest on their balances at banks and savings banks in the past two years. The Altenburger Land district, for example, had to pay around 107,000 euros in storage fees in 2020 alone, as can be seen from the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior's response to a request from the state parliament member Sascha Bilay (left). Eisenach paid around 78,000 euros in penalty interest on deposits with banks that year. The two totals are by far the highest listed in the relevant ministry statement.
However, the ministry qualifies that the information probably does not provide a complete overview of all penalty interest that municipalities, cities, rural districts and urban districts as well as municipal special-purpose associations recently had to pay. "Custodial fees or negative interest rates are not statistically recorded," says the response signed by Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD). The information was based on the individual audits of the legal supervisory authorities. However, "only in a few cases was it possible to clearly identify custody fees".
The Interior Ministry's list contains a total of around 60 municipalities or special-purpose associations that had to pay penalty interest to banks or savings banks in either 2020 or 2021 or in both years. However, only very small sums are sometimes due. For the city of Bürgel and the municipality of Reichenbach, for example, penalty interest was only one euro each in 2020, it says there. In the municipality of Schlöben, it was exactly five euros in 2021.
Like private savers, the municipalities and special-purpose associations supported by them have also had a hard time in recent years getting interest at all for call money, fixed-term deposits or similar investments from banks. Instead, they regularly had to pay penalty interest if their investments in banks or savings banks exceeded a certain level.
In the wake of the recent turnaround in interest rates in the USA and Europe, however, the first banks have already abolished the penalty interest they had previously charged. Other banks have announced plans to eliminate these fees, often referred to as custody fees, in the coming months.