The rise in interest rates driven by the European Central Bank (ECB) Since July of last year, to combat high inflation, it is putting millions of families with variable mortgages against the ropes. Banks are quick to pass on the rebound in receipts. On the contrary, they do not go at the same speed when it comes to doing the same with deposits.
Since mid-2022, the euro regulator approved successive increases in the price of money, which rose from 0% to the current 3%. An evolution that moved to the euribor, reference indicator for the majority of variable mortgages, leading to an average increase of about 250 per month. However, the average return on one-year deposits in spain was 0.42% last December, below the EU average (1.34%), and countries like France o Italiawhich pay around 2%.
Such a situation “urges” a correction towards a “fair” remuneration, according to transfer from the organizations of users Adicae, Asufin and Ucgal. They all agree that the increase in interest rates should affect the remuneration of the accounts to the same extent.
Against this version, the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) defends that interest rates on deposits are already rising. They also point out that “it is not easy” to make an international comparison since the different banking systems in Europa They have their own characteristics and are different from the rest. “Nor can it be generalized since in an environment of high competition each entity makes its decision based on its commercial policy at all times,” settles the AEB.
Why don’t they pay more?
Large entities consider that they have a strong position in terms of solvency and enjoy abundant liquidity, both due to injections of BCE as for the savings generated during the pandemic and, for now, they do not need money. Although they may have to pay savers more in the future as rates continue to rise, high returns are not expected at this time.
“They have no incentive to do it. It is the reason why there is no war for liabilities ”, reasons Patricia Suárez, president of Asufin. “We consider that it is the progressive elimination of the stimuli of BCE which will cause liquidity to gradually decrease throughout the year and deposits to regain some prominence. Everything is conditioned by the rates, because we also anticipate that they will enter a certain stability, if not drop, which will continue to make a war for liabilities unlikely ”, he adds.
They do see more movement from Asufin in small banks, “with less ease to access the liabilities of the BCEoffers more attractive products to the retailer”, indicates Suarez. “We found movement, above all, when it comes to attracting new clients, through payroll accounts, which are beginning to appear again.”
In Adica They criticize that the large Spanish banks show a “Spartan resistance” to provide a “minimally decent” remuneration for savings. A behavior, they say, that contrasts with the speed with which the rate increases were transferred to the financing of housing or other products. Mortgages for more than 10 years suffered a variation of 0.72% in just four months and access to other credits became more expensive by 1.29%.
Savings at record levels: more than one million euros
Family deposits are at record levels and exceeded one trillion euros for the first time in December, according to the latest data from the Bank of Spain. In Galiciasavings in deposits amounted to 77,648 million at the end of the third quarter of 2022 after an increase of almost 10,400 million since the outbreak of the pandemic Despite these figures, Adicae insists that many citizens “are forced” to allocate their investments to other products beyond accounts, such as mutual funds.
The model “cannot live with its back to consumers”, they opine, calling for its “normalization” in order to guarantee the future stability of the sector and high inflation rates in the short term.
UCGAL: “They are doing business”
Banks are in the line of attracting customers and trying to get them to link as much as possible, but “not with the argument of offering a higher return on their deposits, but with other types of products”, analyzes the general secretary of the Union of Consumers of Galicia (UCGAL), Miguel López. He believes that the banks are “making cash” because of the price they put on any type of financing.