An annual account maintenance fee of € 9.48 led consumer advocates to go to court against a building society. The consumer advocates considered the fee superfluous, because the building society already earns money with the actual lending and the interest, which is taken here, cover costs around the administration.
First, the building society could claim in court, they had the Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe on their side. However, consumer advocates did not hesitate to seek another trial at the highest level. So it came that last week the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had to deal with the account maintenance fees for home savings loans.
Good news for home loan savers and especially borrowers
The highest judges ruled that the calculation of fees is in fact not right and justified their decision much in the same way as the consumer advocates. Because the building society already earns money on the lending or the interest, the account management fees are not required. The judgment states that the administration of the loan agreements “does not constitute a separate, compensable benefit to the homeowner”.
Although it is far from the case that all building societies raise such a fee, but it does happen. Now, the fee has been collected by the Federal Court, whereby the cost of financing at some building societies decline slightly.
In the event that account maintenance fees have already been paid, they can be reclaimed by the building society. This option will be available until the end of this year, with the affected period being up to and including 2014. Building society savers who would like to follow this path should contact their building society in writing.
Also applies to other loans
In a sense, the judgment of the BGH is not a surprising decision. Not so long ago, it was decided at the highest court level that loan account maintenance fees are not allowed as long as the loans were taken out by consumers. The home savings loans were a last exception dar.
Is building society still up-to-date?
Many of our customers are asking whether it makes any sense to conclude Bauspar contracts – after all, interest rates have fallen steadily in recent years, so that it is almost always cheaper to finance through classic mortgage loans.
That’s right, which is why we advise most builders and real estate buyers to finance their project through mortgage loans. Nevertheless, building savings contracts continue to have a raison d’être. First, they embody an excellent instrument for interest rate hedging. Assuming that a low-interest mortgage loan will be taken out today, a supplementary home savings contract will ensure that favorable follow-up financing can be provided in ten years or more.
In addition, interest rates are currently still very cheap. Anyone who knows that they would like to buy their own home one day, but still has plenty of time until then, can also secure attractive conditions for their future financing. Especially here, the home savings contract to score points. Over the years, equity capital is built up, which is always beneficial. At the same time, the interest rates for the future home savings loan are already set, which means excellent interest rate security on the bottom line. At the same time, home loan savers remain flexible because they can still decide otherwise in the end.