Commerzbank announced it will be charging its big corporate and institutional clients extra fees if they hold a high level of deposits on their accounts, encouraging them to move the money into other investment options.
The German financial services company, headquartered in Frankfurt, is the country’s second-largest bank. It stressed that the policy will not affect individual private savers or small and medium size businesses.
The move comes following the European Central Bank’s decision to, for the first time, move key interest rates into negative territory.
In June the ECB said that banks would be charged if they held money at the central bank. The negative interest rate was implemented to prevent banks from keeping money on deposit and lend the money instead.
Two months ago the ECB cut the rate on overnight deposits to -0.2%, which made it even less appealing for banks to hold money there.
Commerzbank said that the recent policies that the ECB has implemented prompted the company to enact similar measures with its own clients to help shift extra cash to alternative investments (investments other than cash, bonds and stocks).
A statement by the bank said:
“In the case of certain large corporate clients with substantial deposits as well as corporations or institutional investors we reserve the right, in individual cases, to charge a fee for large deposits of surplus liquidity parked with us,”