The savers do not want it, the bank does not want it either, but a negative savings rate cannot exclude the Volksbank. This is what the bank's top man, Maurice Oostendorp, said during the presentation of the half-year figures. The Volksbank is known for brands such as SNS, ASN and Regiobank.
As a result, the signals for savers that there is a real chance of negative savings interest, where you have to pay to be able to store your money at the bank, is getting stronger. Earlier, ING CEO Ralph Hamers also announced that his bank was considering introducing negative interest rates.
Nothing is ruled out
Oostendorp said that the Volksbank 'intends' to talk to customers about 'what the new interest rate environment means' and how the bank should implement it. What that means, by the way, remained vague.
Asked if the Volksbank was trying to get its customers ready for negative savings rates, Oostendorp replied: "It is clear that no one wants a negative savings rate. The savers do not want that, the banks do not want to. But you can never exclude anything."
The ECB drops interest rates further
Thus, the banker referred to the policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). At this point, banks must already pay to the ECB to store money there at night. As a result, interest rates for ordinary savers have also dropped sharply, otherwise attracting savings banks simply costs too much money.
But the fear is that the ECB will lower interest rates even further, which will also bring negative savings rates for individuals one step closer. Oostendorp further did not want to make a public opinion on this: "The ECB policy is a given. The interest rate is negative. It is not excluded that the interest rate will be reduced further. I can find all of that, but it is a given. "
Hammers judged hard
On that front, Oostendorp is a lot less pronounced than Ralph Hamers. The ING boss recently made a tough judgment about the central bank's policy. "If you change policies now, when economic growth is slowed by geopolitical uncertainties, you have no idea if this is landing in fertile soil," Hamers said.
So far, Triodos Bank is the only bank in the Netherlands that has already set the savings rate at 0. Most other banks still give savers a symbolic interest rate, which yields virtually nothing. ABN Amro and ING still give savers only 0.02 percent interest (20 cents per thousand euros). Rabobank gives a sigh: 0.03 percent.