• Germany's news in English

Man keeps interest from €200 million bank error

The Local · 4 May 2012, 11:30

Published: 04 May 2012 11:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The man, named in German media only as Michael H., sold shares last April for €20,000 – but his online bank Comdirect accidentally put €200 million into his account.

Michael H. swiftly transferred €10 million of it into his current account in a different bank. And although Comdirect successfully clawed back all the €200 million, it demanded €12,000 on top – 14.4 percent interest on the money he moved.

The district court in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, ruled on Thursday that Comdirect should repay the man the €12,000 – plus the interest it accrued over the last year.

But the bank – which is owned by Commerzbank – is going to appeal. “People who want to use money that does not belong to them generally have to pay interest," a bank spokesman said. "That is the same for everyone.”

“We only implemented normal procedures – it was nothing more than correct protocol.”

Michael H. admitted it was fun to be a multimillionaire for a moment, but now regrets moving the money. “It would have been better if I had done nothing.”

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:53 May 4, 2012 by noleti
The title is wrong. As the text correctly describes, the bank first demanded a 14.4% interest rate for the 10M EUR which he sent to a different account before giving it back. This interest resulted in 12k EUR. They simply took this money from his account, now they have to give it back, plus give him interest rate for it. In the end, the poor man at least didn't loose money because of the bank's fault.
16:08 May 4, 2012 by yourkeau
14.4%?! Are they mad? Thanks God I'm not a Commerzbank customer.
22:53 May 4, 2012 by glenhope
The court should have instructed the bank to pay the man 14.4% interest on the whole EUR 200m for the time it was resting in his account.

The bank obviously thinks that they are entitled to engage in usury but nobody else is. They also think they are entitled to bring the world financial system to the brink of collapse and then be too big to fail.

It's time for a reality check. Good for the court.

The bank should feel lucky the guy didn't buy 200 million worth of shares.
17:04 May 5, 2012 by SynJyn Tweer
The banks do not pay interest on money that does not belong to them all the time. Most times when you transfer money it only is credited to the other account 24 hour to five days later and the banks are happy to take the interest for this period.
23:52 May 5, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
@glenhope - agreed. They should be glad he didn't transfer it to the Government of N. Korea or the US :-)
00:22 May 8, 2012 by wood artist
The first, and most important thing in this whole mess is simple: The original problem was a bank error! The FACT that the bank screwed up doesn't somehow obligate the "victim" of their error. Since he didn't spend the money, the only valid claim the bank has is for it's return. If the money gained interest during the process that's hardly his fault.

In the US most of us would simply say it's an example of "street justice" since the banks are never hesitant to make a customer error play to their advantage.

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd