ILLEGAL FEES

Flood of Claims Overwhelm Banks

Source: DPA
Banks are being taken to task over charges.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    According to the German Central Bank, between 2005 and 2013 Germans signed a total of 65 million loan contracts that could be affected by the court’s decision.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Last fall, the Federal Court of Justice found that banks had charged illegal fees and decreed that customers could file claims for repayment.
    • The banks are arguing that the court’s verdict doesn’t apply in those cases, the consumer protection agencies are of another opinion.
    • Since a bank would have made money while it held illegal fees, it must add an extra 5 percent onto basic interest for the period.
  • Audio

    Audio

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December 29 will long be remembered by employees of the Association of German Banks (BdB). That was the day when yellow crates with 30,000 registered letters piled up at its mediation center – four times as much mail as is usually delivered in an entire year.

The reason for the flood of mail was a decision last fall by the Federal Court of Justice. The court found that banks had charged illegal fees – and decreed that customers could reclaim processing fees on credit agreements they had paid since 2004. But they had to hurry. For loans through 2011, the deadline for submitting claims was the last day of 2014.

The letters kept pouring in. Over 100,000 claims were submitted to the BdB alone in connection with processing fees for credit agreements.

The BdB has become the place to go for customers of such large financial institutions as Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank or Targobank, and Santander Consumer Bank, which is heavily involved in the credit business.

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