Record low and negative interest rates have put commercial banks in a difficult spot. Across Europe, they have been passing the burden to their clients. Some have introduced fees for those with large account balances, while others are punishing everybody equally. In any case, some bankers fear this could lead to withdrawal of large amounts in cash, jeopardizing the cashless society traditional financial institutions have been building. Cryptocurrencies and their users have a lot to win in this situation.
Danske Bank Sees Risks for Society
Danske Bank, the troubled Danish institution which is struggling to overcome the consequences of a large money laundering scandal, is among those European banks that have been dealing in negative interest rates the longest. Denmark was arguably the first country on the continent to introduce them after the 2008 crash. In the summer of 2012, the central bank lowered its benchmark rate to -0.2% and has kept it around or below zero ever since.
Benchmark interest rate in Denmark
With unprecedented low interest rates in Europe, many financial institutions have made a decision to pass the burden on to their account holders and even introduce fees on large cash balances. However, Danske has recently vowed not to punish its wealthy depositors with additional charges, unlike other major banks in the region. Chief Financial Officer Christian Baltzer warned in a recent interview with Bloomberg that charging customers with large deposits could pose a risk to society, as he put it.
Baltzer said that Danske acknowledges the difficult conditions in the financial sector, but emphasized Denmark’s leading bank does not plan to impose negative interest rates on personal savings or current accounts.