News Credit Processing Fees: Bank customers demand their money back

News Credit Processing Fees: Bank customers demand their money back

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Monday, 18.02.13 , written by Bernd Lauberg As reported by the ZDF magazine “WISO”, more and more bank customers are demanding inadmissibly raised loan processing fees from their financial institution. However, although several courts have ruled that the processing fees for credit are not allowed, most banks only react when threatened with a lawsuit. 

It is about several million euros, which the banks have wrongly earned with processing fees for loans. Despite court rulings, many financial institutions still charge one-time processing fees for their loans. These are usually between one and three percent of the payout. So if the bank customer takes out a loan of 100,000 euros, he may only get paid between 97,000 euros and 99,000 euros. However, such loan processing fees are unlawful in most cases, allowing bank customers to reclaim the money. But many financial institutions keep their customers down.

Update May 13, 2014: The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has pronounced an important verdict on the processing fees for loans. In two cases, the court declared the fees clauses inappropriate. Thousands of bank customers can now hope for a refund. However, it is still disputed whether the claims can become time-barred after three years and thus only customers who have concluded a credit agreement in 2011 are affected.

Update October 28, 2014: The Federal Court of Justice has now decided that bank customers can reclaim inadmissible fees for credit agreements concluded from 2004, see reclaiming credit fees: BGH extends the deadline to ten years

Credit processing fee declared inadmissible by eight courts

Credit processing fees are charged by the banks, for example, because they check the creditworthiness of the borrower. However, eight higher regional courts (OLG) have now decided that the processing fees for consumer credit agreements are inadmissible. The credit check is arranged by the bank in its own interest. It is therefore not a service that the customer has to pay. However, since there is no judgment of the Federal Supreme Court (BGH), the highest German civil court, many banks continue to defend their loan processing fees. A judgment of the BGH is anyway unlikely, since the banks so far could prevent a high court verdict. Those affected must take the initiative themselves and reclaim their money – if necessary with the help of a lawyer.

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Bank customers: reclaim fees

Bank customers have three options: Either they hire a specialist lawyer for banking and capital market law. Sometimes just the threat of suing is enough for credit institutions to react. However, this can incur costs that do not necessarily reflect the repayment amount. For many, therefore, the effort is too high compared to the relatively small amounts.

Alone sue vs. Class action against bank

Another option is to join the Schutzgemeinschaft für Bankkunden (schuvoba). It supports the borrowers who do not want to complain for the time being. Using a questionnaire, the community first checks whether further legal steps are meaningful. If those affected use the help of the trusted attorney, they will pay depending on their success. So far, about 150 cases have been filed in this way.

Reclaim processing fee early

Finally, those affected still have the opportunity to assign their claims to a company that collects lawsuits against banks. Bank customers thus avoid the risk of incurring high costs in the event of defeat in court. However, if successful, they will only receive one third of the disputed amount. Borrowers should in any case be careful to make their claims in time. Otherwise, these may become time-barred. For this reason, those affected should not be put off their bank.

Credit Processing Fee: Use Sample Letter

The consumer organization Stiftung Warentest provides a sample letter on its website, with which bank customers can reclaim the processing fees. What options sufferers also have, if their bank does not pay, they can today on Monday (18 February 2013) at 19:25 clock at “WISO” on ZDF.