Bank demands approval: ING threatens customers with termination

As of: 09/20/2021 12:12 p.m.

The way many banks deal with their customers is becoming rougher. But no financial institution in Germany has yet made it as clear as the direct bank ING: approval of higher fees – or termination.

The major Dutch bank ING threatens its customers in Germany to terminate their account details if they do not agree to the new fees and the custody fee.

“In the end we need the consent of the customers in order to continue working with them,” said ING Germany boss Nick Jue in an interview with the news agency dpa. “In the case of customers who do not agree, we reserve the right to terminate the accounts in a last possible step.”

The time of high savings interest is a thing of the past

In the spring, the bank had announced, among other things, an account management fee of EUR 4.90 per month for customers who do not post a monthly incoming payment of at least EUR 700 on their checking account. In addition, the bank has worsened the conditions for other account services such as the submission of checks.

In the summer, this was followed by the announcement of a custody fee of 0.5 percent for account amounts above 50,000 euros. The background to this is the year-long zero interest rate policy of the European Central Bank (ECB).

For years, the direct bank had attracted customers with relatively high savings rates, first under the name DiBa and later under the name ING-Diba. The direct bank had 9.2 million customers in Germany and Austria at the end of the first half of the year.

BGH ruling brings problems for banks

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled at the end of April that banks must obtain the consent of their customers for changes to general terms and conditions. The clause, according to which the institutes can assume tacit approval if customers do not object to a change within two months, disadvantageous customers inappropriately, according to the judges.

In addition, bank customers can claim back fees that credit institutions have charged without express consent – according to Stiftung Warentest, retrospectively until the beginning of 2018.

“From the end of November we are planning to obtain the consent of the majority of our customers to our changed terms and conditions and the custody fee, mostly digitally,” said ING Germany boss Jue. The new conditions for these customers should then apply from March 1, 2022. Competitors such as Commerzbank subsidiary Comdirect and Deutsche Bank with its subsidiary Postbank had already made a similar statement.

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