Millions of dollars are sleeping on immobile accounts. Most of these are money from the deceased. So far, banks have little interest in finding the rightful heirs. The topic is now back on the agenda.

Picture: Gross national product

Nationwide, according to a recent extrapolation from North Rhine-Westphalia, the figure is about two billion euros, estimates North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Finance Norbert Walter-Borjans – a trend that is clearly rising. The SPD politician wants to raise this treasure – and at the same time remedy a malady, as he tells the German Press Agency. He criticizes the financial institutions: “It can not be that banks bunker money that they are not entitled to.”

“Men’s accounts strengthen the capital base of banks”

The NRW minister sees a need for action and emphasizes that many federal states are aiming for an improvement. So far it is like this: If the banks do not “find or want to find an heir”, the fortune remains there. “The money belongs to someone, and he should get it.” There are even accounts in which the owner would theoretically have to be 120 years old. Walter Borjans says: “Men’s accounts strengthen the capital base of the banks.” It also raises the question of how “honest” the banks dealt with their customers. They should be legally bound to “make every effort to get the claimant to their money”. And a central database would help.

Banks and savings banks can not understand the change requests: “The German banking industry sees no reason to change the existing and proven practice regarding dormant accounts.” If the contact with the customer is lost, mail will be returned as undeliverable, for example, and every bank will investigate, according to the Federal Association of German Banks. If no customer contact can be established permanently, “the assets will always be available to the customer”. The bank does not own a dormant account. The policy should not give the impression that the protection of assets is “at their discretion”.

Association calls for central reporting system

The Verband Deutscher Erbenermittler considers improvements to be necessary. Most European countries would have long established a reporting system for dormant accounts, says VDEE spokesman Albrecht Basse. With a publicly accessible register, potential heirs could also investigate themselves. At the moment, heirs and probationers are unable to obtain secure information about the full amount of assets held by banks.

And the problem will continue to grow, Basse believes. “In the past, when the grandparents were decommissioned, they still came across the old passbook, but in times of increasing online accounts, children and grandchildren soon no longer have much in their hands.” And: “More transparency in the banking system” will also lead to high additional revenue for the state through inheritance tax. That is positive.

Without heirs, the money goes to the federal states

If heirs are determined, the federal states can profit from inheritance tax. If no heirs are traceable at the end, the money would have to go to the states as a “fiscal inheritance” by law. In the NRW push, however, a plus for the treasury is not the focus, underlines Walter-Borjans. According to his ministry, however, it is “a fact” that it can serve the general public better than a bank. Baden-Württemberg’s finance minister Edith Sitzmann (Greens) recently demanded that the state should be given access to accounts and credits if there were no more owners.

The problem of immovable accounts has long been known and must now be addressed with force, the NRW Minister demands. A first attempt of a country AG starting from 2013 had not led to the success. “It would be really easy and not over bureaucratic to make.” Some deletion proposals are already on the table. ” However, there are still discussions among the federal states. Hesse, for example, is “more restrained” with its financial center Frankfurt. And without the covenant, it would not work. But: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, contrary to its promise, apparently has done nothing until today (…). This is bank-friendly, but not citizen-friendly.”

 

Real Estate Booming: Thanks to historically low interest rates home loans are as cheap as they are rare. That makes building and buying real estate particularly attractive. Consumer advocates, however, urgently recommend comparing different financing offers. In a review of Financial Test magazine, the testers found that consultants do not always give consumers all sorts of benefits.

Picture: Dream house 

Why is building or buying a house worthwhile at the moment?

Long-term construction loans with fixed interest rates for ten to fifteen years are currently available with interest rates of around three percent. However, real estate prices have risen significantly in recent years, especially in large cities.

Are real estate a good investment?

Real estate is not considered a return killer. However, according to consumer experts, they are a sound investment, especially in times of crisis. The value of a property is relatively safe – provided price, quality and location are right. In any case, a real estate purchase should be well considered.

How do I find the cheapest loan?

Here only helps a comparison of the various providers, with the selection of loans according to Stiftung Warentest is currently particularly large. Builders and buyers can use comparison computers on the Internet. Also, consumer magazines and newspapers often provide current interest rates. The house bank can be an important contact – but is not always the first choice. A provider comparison can sometimes save tens of thousands of euros.

How does a construction loan work?

Loans for houses or apartments usually run for ten, 20 or 30 years. As a rule, interest rates are only set for a limited period of several years. If this so-called fixed interest period expires, bank and customer negotiate the extension of the loan. The builder can then also umschulden and switch to a cheaper provider. Consumers should seek new offers several months before the deadline expires. Because of the historically low interest rates, there are currently also particularly favorable follow-up loans.

Are the credit rates always fixed?

In itself, fixed monthly installments are agreed. However, construction loans often also give the right to special repayment, ie a repayment in addition to the agreed installments. It can also be negotiated that the client can adjust the rates, such as when the income changes.

How much money do I have to raise myself?

Financial experts see equity of 20 to 30 percent of the property price as a solid base. For their offered top interest rates, however, banks often want to see 40 percent equity. Some banks are also willing to finance the full purchase price. But they usually demand hefty risk premiums on interest.

Is there money from the state?

The State Development Bank KfW offers loans, for example, for the purchase of owner-occupied residential property, energy-efficient construction and renovation or for age-appropriate living. In addition, the state pays the housing premium of 8.8 percent in building society savings. There is also state support in the form of the so-called residential Riester for the purchase of self-used real estate for retirement.

What happens if I become unemployed or incapacitated for work?

Risks such as these can be fully or partially covered by insurance. So there are insurance against occupational disability, unemployment, life insurance or residual debt insurance. Consumers should seek good insurance cover before concluding a policy and a home loan. Stiftung Warentest advises on insurance in the event of death.

News Stiftung Warentest shows eco fund in the test the red card

News Stiftung Warentest shows eco fund in the test the red card

finanzen.de News always well informed

Thursday, 17.10.13 , written by Bernd Lauberg 57 closed eco-funds was examined by Stiftung Warentest in the current test (Finanztest 11/2013). In detail, only ten funds were examined, many flew out of the investigation because of KO criteria. None of the tested eco-funds is recommendable from the perspective of Stiftung Warentest. On the contrary: Almost all are deficient. > Ökofonds Test 2013 von Stiftung Warentest: Viele Fonds sind mangelhaft

Beware of eco funds currently warns Stiftung Warentest

In fact, closed eco-funds are a great way for green investors to spend their money “green”. But Stiftung Warentest advises now in the current test of the financial test from. Because “none of the audited funds can recommend the Finanztest experts in good conscience,” is the sad judgment of the consumer organization. Too much risk, beautified forecasts, too tightly calculated reserves: “The test result is an indictment” for closed eco-funds. After all, two funds have received from the Stiftung Warentest the rating “sufficient”, the remaining eight are simply “Poor”.

Ecofund test by Stiftung Warentest: far too great risks for investors

Investors can invest in eco funds usually with an investment starting from 10,000 euros up plus an additional five percent for the acquisition costs. In return, the funds offer returns of between five and ten percent and a secure investment. Because the state-guaranteed feed-in tariffs for the electricity should make the plant safe. But the fund can become a risk if the providers of solar and wind farms, biogas and hydropower plants do not plan the costs and yields well. For example, Stiftung Warentest has sorted out the closed eco-funds, for which more than ten percent of future investments have yet to be determined.

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Almost all tested closed eco funds are deficient

Only ten funds meet the conditions set by the consumer organization to even be included in the test and were still offered on the company’s website as of September 2, 2013. Nine of them finance themselves with more than 60 percent debt. This is risky from the perspective of Stiftung Warentest. Because investors must then repay the bank loans with money from the fund, “if the business is going bad.” The more fund providers fund their investments with debt, the riskier it can be for the investor.

Stiftung Warentest critically examines eco-funds

Stiftung Warentest has tested the funds for the returns and the costs, the forecasting risk as well as the control and the contract. The lower the one-time costs and the running costs, the better for the consumer. It is equally good if the provider provides “sufficient liquidity reserves at different times”. Should unforeseen events occur, the consumer’s investment is not immediately at stake. The consumer organization also assesses the situation positively if an auditor has confirmed the prospectus information for the fund offer as plausible and correct.

Two eco-fund “test winners” determined by financial test

The “best” closed eco funds “CFB funds 180 – solar Germany portfolio V” (Commerz Real Fund) and “LHI Solar Germany VII Georgsdorf & Prenzlau” (LHI Leasing) have in the test of Stiftung Warentest with “sufficient” cut off. The consumer organization advises only wealthy investors to closed eco-funds, as these, despite some collateral hold a high risk. Therefore, they should not invest more than five percent of their assets. As “a good chance to earn money with wind, solar or biogas plants,” Finanztest sees public participation in the vicinity of the place of residence. Because investors are familiar with each other and the goals of the project can be planned together. Consumers should in any case put their environmental funds through their paces and not rely blindly on the high promise of returns.

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