Rabobank’s chief financial officer, Bas Browers, confirms that interest rates were historically low until more than a year ago. Thus, banks also earn less interest on savings and loans. So, from the point of view of their financial health, they’re now going to take more margin.
Rabobank announced Thursday that it’s working on new savings products to give customers more options now that savings interest rates aren’t rising quickly. This should become a kind of intermediate form between a “freely withdrawn” account and a term deposit. With the latter model, you will temporarily not be able to access your money for a slightly higher interest rate.
Just like the big three Dutch banks, banks elsewhere in Europe have also announced big profit increases in recent weeks. This is why countries such as Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom are working to introduce an additional tax on excess earnings.
But experts wonder if this excess profits tax is beneficial, they told NU.nl. “Then you have to figure out what normal earnings are and what they are not. And that will be contested,” said Paul de Grauwe, a professor at the London School of Economics. He would prefer to see the European Central Bank limit interest payments on banks’ reserves.
Professor Harald Bennink would like the ECB to ask banks to spend excess profits on increasing their reserves, rather than distributing them to shareholders.
The banks themselves have stated that they see no such additional bank tax. This could put pressure on “the financing of much-needed investments by consumers and businesses,” the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) wrote in a statement on Wednesday.