Euro am Sonntag tested: This is how you get into debt privately: Which branch banks offer the best conditions for loans | message
by Felix Petruschke, Euro am Sonntag
It took a comparatively long time, but in the meantime the virus crisis also seems to have reached the banking sector: Many financial institutions are increasingly lending money strict Standards and require a larger risk premium. This is shown by a survey by the Smava credit portal in mid-July. Accordingly, loans were more expensive for consumers in the first half of 2020 than they have been since 2016. On average they were annual interest in this country bei 5.99 percent. It could get even more expensive in the coming months: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, banks have been adjusting their interest rates much more frequently than before,” explains Alexander Artopé, Managing Director of Smava. This can also be seen in the widening difference in the interest rates that banks left for comparable loansnong. This Since January this has increased on average from a good 70 to more than 80 percentent.
For consumers, this development means that it is more worthwhile than ever to compare several offers. In individual cases, many thousands of euros can vary between the cheapest and the most expensive loan. This is shown by the current test of installment loans by the German Customer Institute (DKI) on behalf of € uro am Sonntag. The survey was carried out for the tenth year in a row. Branch banks (Euro am Sonntag edition 33/2020) and online banks (Euro am Sonntag edition 34/2020) were tested.
With an installment loan, the bank, i.e. the lender, pays the loan in one amount. In return, the customer, i.e. the borrower, has to repay the borrowed money at a fixed monthly rate. The term of the installment loan is already fixed when the money is paid out and is usually specified in months. The borrowing rate is also fixed for the entire term from the start.
In the present test, the loan offers from six selected banks were checked: BBBank, BW-Bank, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Targobank and Postbank. For better comparability, the DKI designed ten sample cases for different borrowers who were supposed to take out a loan of 5,000 euros up to 35,000 euros.
In addition, the DKI sent anonymous sample customers, so-called mystery shoppers, to the individual branches to check the quality of the advice on site. For test purposes, the sample customers also turned to the banks by phone and e-mail to find out how competent, quick and friendly the employees were to respond to inquiries. In this way, around 230 customer contacts were made between January and June. Evaluation was made using 285 individual criteria. The tables for the individual categories can be found below, as well as a selection of the most important evaluation criteria.
One of the most important findings of the test: “There are serious differences when it comes to the equipment of the loan, but especially when it comes to advice in the branch,” emphasizes DKI managing director Jörn Hüsgen. The mystery shoppers also brought very different impressions from the consultations. The feedback ranged from: “The consultant seemed to want to suggest the best for me and created a warm and relaxed atmosphere”, to: “The consultant did not consider a written offer to be sensible.”
Winner: Deutsche Bank
In the overall result, Deutsche Bank landed in 1st place. Last year’s runner-up convinced with a coherent concept of good conditions (5th place) and a very good offer (2nd place). In the “Information” and “Customer Service” categories, Deutsche Bank could not be beaten.
To the details: The “private loan” of the Deutsche Bank scores with very flexible conditions. In the “Offer” category, the examiners were impressed by the high flexibility of the loan: The sum can be between 1,000 and 75,000 euros, with terms ranging from twelve to 84 months. The processing time is usually only one day. There is no maximum age for customers. In addition, the rates can be increased or decreased during the term or a deferral can be obtained. The loan is not granted to freelancers and self-employed.
Further pluses: The very good advice and information quality in the branch. For example, in all test cases, the customers’ assets were fully determined. The bank advisors were also able to answer all questions to the fullest satisfaction and fully responded to the wishes of the customers. The examiners found the atmosphere of the conversation to be very friendly and understandable. Exemplary.
In the “Service” area, Deutsche Bank employees reacted fastest to emails and second fastest to calls. However, the quality of the answers suffered due to the speed: Only eight of the 15 questions asked could be answered satisfactorily.
Another weak point of Deutsche Bank’s “private loan” is the level of the effective annual interest rate: In all ten sample cases, this is only in the middle. But: Good advice often has its price.
Targobank’s installment loan came in last in the test. The main drawback was the inadequate performance in the “Information” category, which was rated with unusual zero points. The previous year’s winner was unable to compensate for this total loss with a very good offer (1st place) and good conditions (4th place). Targobank only took second place in the “price-performance” category.
For the on-site mystery shoppers, the inadequate advice in the branches was more or less a declaration of bankruptcy: in one case, for example, the bank advisor failed to submit a written offer; instead, he offered the auditor a pad of paper to write down. The auditors rated the work of the consultants generally as “incomplete” and “imprecise”. For example, the details of the loan and the exact capital requirements were not explained in one case. The test customers found the atmosphere of the conversation to be “unfriendly” and the interviewees as “rushed”. None of the sample customers would recommend Targobank to others.
The poor advice is not only surprising compared to the previous year, but also because the Targobank can advertise its offer and terms of its loan. The advantages include, for example, the effective annual interest rates: In the sample cases, these are all in the low to moderate range. In addition, both freelancers and self-employed as well as retirees can apply for a loan. Otherwise, only Postbank offers this in the overall comparison.
Interest rates up to 7.79 percent
The first guideline for customers when making a comparison should be the amount of loan interest charged. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: Commerzbank names the lowest interest rate for each sample case (2.61 percent each). The BBBank names the second lowest interest rates for all sample customers (2.99 percent each). The Postbank, on the other hand, demands the highest amounts in all sample cases (up to 7.79 percent). How much that can make a difference is shown by the purchase of a new kitchen (sample case 10): A full 6,790 euros are between the cheapest and the most expensive loan! The auditors also paint a mixed picture of the banks: Although 82 percent of them found the bank employees “very competent” or “competent”, only 55 percent would recommend the tested bank to others.
In the sample cases with loan amounts of 30,000 and 35,000 euros, the banks were asked about the conditions for residual debt insurance (in the event of unemployment, incapacity for work or death). This increases the loan costs for all providers by several thousand euros. Consumer advocates therefore recommend separate term life insurance. This would usually mean that customers would drive more cheaply.
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