Dutch banks charge top dollar for overdrafts

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Financial news site Z24 studied overdraft interest rates of Dutch banks, and came to the conclusion that Dutch banks charge as much as their German counterparts.

Overdraft interest rates are limited by law to 12% plus a variable rate that is currently 3 percentage points. The maximum interest rate for overdrafts currently allowed is therefore 15%.

ING currently charges 14.5%, almost the maximum. Z24 discovered the following rates:

Bank Rate (%)
ING 14.5
ABN Amro 14.1
Rabobank 12.9
ASN Bank* 10.0

When a bank borrows money from the Central European Bank, it only pays an interest rate of 1%.

A German consumer organisation had recently studied overdraft interest rates in its own country and came to the conclusion that with an average rate of 12.1%, German banks overcharged their customers by a lot. Banks defended themselves claiming that there were high costs involved in charging relatively small amounts, and that the chance that customers would not pay back their overdraft is relatively large.

A study by the German government, Süddeutsche Zeiting reported last Thursday, proved that the banks were lying. Overdrafts are a relatively risk-free type of loan for banks, with only 0.3% of the overdrafts leading to payment problems, as compared to 2.5% for other types of loan.

The Dutch financial authority AFM will study the rates that banks charge after January 1, the date on which new banking rules go into effect.

*) ASN Bank is a brand of SNS Bank that originally only offered ethical savings accounts, although recently they have also added current accounts to their services. Although the savings of ASN customers are invested in ethical stock, the profits go to the parent company.

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