iff Over-indebtedness Report
The iff Over-Indebtedness Report is an annual national survey of over-indebted households in Germany that have sought help from debt advice organisations. The objective of the research is to provide robust data for stakeholder groups in politics, government and debt counselling, and for affec-ted households and suppliers of financial services, in order to identify consensual solutions to the problem of over-in-debtedness and to mitigate its detrimental consequences.
Fair Loans Market Study
The aim of the market assessment for instalment loans was to analyse the instalment loan market in Germany. The fairness of the advice and offers was assessed by means of test purchases. The objective was to identify areas where there is a need for corrective measures.
The study shows that for most of the 94 test purchases the household analysis was incomplete and residual debt insurance was often sold without taking into account the needs of the customers. In addition, there were several extreme interest rate offers. Including the residual debt insurance, a maximum interest rate of 25 percent was noted.
Research Grant Action on “Integrating residential property with private pensions in the EU”
In this research grant (under the programme “Promoting the contribution of private savings to pension adequacy”), iff together with University partners from 6 EU Member States (Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, UK) will explore housing assets and pensions. The work will be to analyse the forms of housing asset conversion and assess market potential and the legal framework in the Member States. The objective will be to suggest a standardised product that can be sold cross-border with consumer safety features and with adaptation to national specificities and to legal, tax and regulatory framework. The research will focus on the needs of old age pensioners with regard to financial liquidity and income needs of homeowners, the expenditure savings of homeownership in retirement, and other important aspects that determine living standards post full-time working lives. The research will seek to answer the following questions: To what extent can housing assets be used as a source for private pensions in retirement? How could such products be designed and supported by commercial, non-profit and state led initiatives? How can such products be part of household retirement planning options?
Study to Evaluate the Ranking of Comparison Portals With Regard to Financial Services Products
The aim of the study is a description of portals that rank financial service products (e.g. insurances, loans, accounts).In particular, it will be examined how the websites are structured, whether they actually evaluate independently and objectively, to what extent their activities are transparent and comprehensible to the consumer and which portals are only superficially independent comparison portals, but are in fact sales channels.
Evaluation of the Debt Collection Regulations Against Dubious Business Practices
The problem of whether and, if so, to what extent the costs incurred by the creditor for the use of a debt collection agency are to be reimbursed by the debtor has always been a question of almost existential importance for the debt collection industry. In the area of tension between these business interests and the protection of debtors from excessive claims for reimbursement, the court practice of both the local courts and the courts of appeal has not yet found a uniform line, and there is also a lack of decisions in the last instance. For this reason, the legislator rightly recognized the need for regulation in this area of reimbursement and enacted the law against dubious business practices, which came into force on October 9, 2013. The expert report commissioned by the BMJV and to be prepared by the research team from iff and the Halle Centre for Social Research has evaluated the law and identified further need for regulation.
Comparative Legal Opinion on Negative Interest on Checking Accounts
With some delay, the development of negative interest rates has reached German savers. At the end of October 2014, Deutsche Skatbank was the first German bank to demand penalty interest rates for individuals as well, at least for larger customer deposits. In the meantime, other institutions have also introduced negative interest rates in various constellations, but in some cases have already withdrawn them again as a result of pressure from consumer advice centres. Volksbank Reutlingen, for example, has at least tried to make negative interest rates possible by including them in its price list. Negative interest rates are associated with a reversal of the interest charge. This means that it is not the credit institution that pays interest for the transfer of money to the customer, but that, rather, the customer provides the credit institution with money and must pay interest in return. This leads to a multitude of legal problems which have not yet been clarified by courts. Also the literature has so far only very sporadically dealt with partial questions from the area of negative interest, a comprehensive and detailed processing is not yet available.
Evaluation of Financial Literacy of Refugees
A minimum level of financial competence is a prerequisite for the sustainable use of financial services, social participation and successful integration. This pilot study is a qualitative study of the financial competencies and practices of refugees and the needs and obstacles to the appro-priate use of financial services. It focuses on refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea living in Hamburg and having good prospects of staying in Germany. Field observations, individual in-terviews and focus group discussions show that the respondents’ financial education is low. This is mainly due to a lack of practice and language barriers. Even in the home countries, formal financial services have been used little. Financial transactions and savings are mostly carried out in cash. More complex financial products and insurances are not used. The financial inclusion of the refugees interviewed has therefore not been achieved.
Macroeconomic and Fiscal Effects of the Activity of Guarantee Banks in the New German Federal States
The aim of the study is to evaluate the needs and activities of guarantee banks in the new federal states and to quantify their influence on the overall economic development and the state budget. The study covers the five federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The influence of the guarantees and warranties issued on the development of companies and employment in the individual economies is examined in order to estimate the resulting net macroeconomic and fiscal benefits.