September 8, 2012

Cops with debts may be fired

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:45 pm

Being in debt is a valid reason to be fired as a police officer, a court has ruled.

The Centrale Raad van Beroep, an appeals court for civil servants, came to this conclusion in the case of a police man with ‘many debts’, as NOS Nieuws puts it. He had been reprimanded in 2005, and when that did not work he was fired in 2009.

The court argued that officers with access to all kinds of databases open themselves up to blackmail, which makes them a greater security risk. Police officers are therefore expected to live up to higher standards.

In the Netherlands jobs are protected. You can only fire an employee through the courts, unless there is a strong reason for immediate dismissal.

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July 22, 2012

Dutch banks charge top dollar for overdrafts

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:57 pm

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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March 21, 2009

Bailliff to leave PC, TV behind

Filed under: General,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:22 pm

The trade association of deurwaarders (bailiffs, court appointed debt collectors) has decided that its members should leave PCs, TVs and refrigerators untouched from now on when collecting debts because they are considered basic needs. The association, KBvG, which represents all 900 bailiffs in the Netherlands, has a list according to Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch) of basic necessities that a bailiff should not repossess, but the list stems from the nineteenth century and only contains items such as beds, books and food.

KBvG chairman John Wisseborn pointed out that people need a PC nowadays to apply for jobs and fill out tax forms.

Sociaal Raadslieden (municipal advisers) is happy about the change. According to them bailiffs can use their own discretion on what to take and what to leave behind, and have apparently figured out that just the threat of taking the PC can be a powerful means of putting pressure on the debtor.

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