New Normal

Commerzbank Joins Negative Interest Party

Commerzbank DPA
Commerzbank may face government claims for back taxes.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The European Central Bank is arguably behind Commerzbank’s latest move. The central bank wants companies and individuals as well as banks to spend their money rather than save it.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The European Central Bank in June began charging banks that park their excess reserves with the central bank. The “negative deposit rate” is currently 0.2 percent.
    • Commerzbank has not set a specific negative interest rate, but said it will negotiate with large corporate clients on a case-by-case basis.
    • Private customers are being spared negative interest rates in nearly all cases.
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  • Audio

    Audio

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The floodgates for negative interest rates have opened in Germany’s banking world.

More and more large corporate customers are facing charges for depositing their money with a bank. It is a consequence of actions by the European Central Bank, which is desperate for customers to get out and spend their money to give the 18-nation euro-zone economy a boost.

Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank, admitted on Wednesday evening that it will start charging money for large corporate deposits, becoming the largest German bank to publicly acknowledge its actions. The bank in a statement said it “reserves the right” to hold talks with large companies and institutional investors about charging them for their cash. The negotiations will take place on a case-by-case basis with customers who hold “large and surplus liquidity” with the bank.

German companies are not happy – but they blame the ECB rather than the banks.

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