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Banks are allowed to terminate expensive savings contracts

The Federal court of justice confirms this: customers determine not alone how long you want to save - banks have something to say about that.

By Wolfgang Janisch, Karlsruhe Wolfgang Janisch

On the question of what profession he wanted to take, Wolfgang Janisch during his law studies, a standard answer: criminal defense attorney. Really seriously that was meant, and today he is glad it came to nothing, although he keeps the Job for one of the most important in the rule of law. So instead journalism: After various stations in regional Newspapers (Mainzer Rhein-Zeitung, Südwest Presse), and the FAZ, as well as a legal Promotion, with a one-year study stay in the USA, he went, in 1997, as a justice, a political correspondent for the German press Agency to Karlsruhe. Jura from the other side, as an observer of the Federal constitutional court and the Federal court of justice. Since 2010, reports and comments for the SZ. In the meantime, he also writes about the European courts; the location - Karlsruhe, Germany - has remained the same.


The advertising flyer of the Kreissparkasse Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt had made great promises: High interest rates, rising premiums, short-term access to the funds - and as a Bonus, on top of it: "you will determine alone, how long you want to save." It was a product with the name "S-save Premiums flexible", whose appeal was that it for the customer, the more lucrative it was, the longer he remained. The premiums started in the first year at Zero, climbed to 25 percent in the tenth year and reached the highest level in the fifteenth year, 50 percent of the annually deposited savings contribution. Before the Federal court of justice (BGH) had a fight now, customers with such contracts from the years 1996 and 2004, with the savings Bank. They had held on to in these times of low interest rates of course as long as possible in the indefinite duration contracts. However, the BGH has now decided: The customers determine not alone how long you want to save - the savings Bank has the right of termination.

Jürgen Ellenberger, Chairman of the Bank Senate sought, first, to make the good news for savers in the center. The crux of the Treaty was that no term was agreed upon, at least not explicitly. So the Supreme court had to interpret the content of the contract. The result: The savings Bank must let their customers so long as the contract hold out until the last reward level is reached - in this case, 15 years. That was initially quite controversial, and probably the reason why the Supreme court has the Revision explicitly allowed. This rule is now generally, and "beyond the case", as Ellenberger said. The termination right, the agreed to the savings Bank in their terms and conditions, is excluded up to the highest premium. Because of the incentive of the premium savings just lay in the gradual increase of the Profits, which is why the savings Bank of the don't prematurely could escape.

The less good news for savers: as soon As the award summit is reached, it is allowed to get off the savings Bank, in any case, if you can cite a proper reason. Sufficient a "change in the interest rate environment", such a persistent phase of low interest rates, which had not factored in the savings Bank, at the time, according to the BGH. In other words: That your savings contract, would be particularly attractive benefits the client, because the savings Bank can not get off with three months ' notice from the contract if he is attractive to you.

advertising, you should not give so much, so the Supreme court

That was, of course, quite surprising: two years ago, the Supreme court had allowed the building societies to the exit from your Altverträgen. Also, at the time, was concerned with the high interest rates, contracts to get rid of the goods you become in the face of permanently low interest rates. The Federal court of justice gave his approval: If, after the allocation to maturity of ten years had elapsed, a termination is allowed.

In both cases, the BGH clearly in mind, to distribute the risks of changes in the market environment on both sides, and to grant the savers are not an eternity warranty. In the case of the Saxony-Anhalt savings Bank, a promotional brochure was added but still, on the basis of the savers were able to make hope for a longer lasting business relationship. Not only because the savers should explicitly decide how long you will save. The customer, a sample was also been presented, which is not extended to 15 years, but on 25. "This is for the savers an interesting component, which led him to conclude the contract," said Norbert Tretter, a lawyer of the customer in the negotiation.

The Supreme court is of the opinion that one should not give up on advertising so much. The 25-years-to-table is "only a sample calculation, with no binding statement about the actual term of the contract is connected". Lawyer Matthias Siegmann had already reminded the hearing that the case-law of the Senate to be more "cautious" when it comes to the liability of advertising statements of the banks. The court stated: Significantly, the contract, not the Flyer that was just an "advertising promotion of the performance." An "average saver" can be found on the Flyer accordingly, no claims.

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