Special mention is made of a negotiation between the banks and their clients to close the PEL, in exchange for compensation.
Small gold mines for savers who subscribed to them before 2011, the old savings plans for housing (PEL) are in the crosshairs of the Court of Auditors who asked this Monday that their remuneration be reduced taking into account their cost for the state and the bank.
Currently, the PEL, whose remuneration is fixed once and for all upon signing the contract, seems inconvenient with a rate of 1% since 2016, while a passbook A contributes double (2%) and a popular savings passbook (LEP ) 4.6%. But this has not always been the case: before 2015, money placed in a PEL yielded more than 2%. Its yield had even reached 3.27% between 2000 and 2003 and exceeded 4% before 1994.
In theory, the PEL is a medium-term investment: it allows you to obtain a loan under favorable conditions to buy real estate or finance works. Since 2011, it is only possible to feed it for 10 years and accrue interest for 15 years. PEL signed before 2011 continue to accrue interest for an unlimited time, at the rate set at the time of the contract, which encourages some savers to keep them longer.
A situation denounced by the Court of Auditors in a report published this Monday: “the PEL deviates from the historical objective of homeownership to become a long-term savings product“, she argues. According to the institution, the old PELs are similar toto a real life annuity, in particular for the benefit of older holders with high assets“.
Costly for banks and for the State
This situation has been denounced for several years by the banks, which pay the interest. “These old PELs are no longer in line with today’s market and constitute a significant cost to finance the economy.“, assures the French Banking Federation (FBF) to AFP. According to the Banque de France, PELs opened before 2011 accounted for €107.7 billion last year with an average remuneration of 4.5%, compared to 3.04% for all PELs.
In a letter to the Court of Accounts published on Monday, its governor, François Villeroy de Galhau, describes the situation as “anomaly“. The PELs also cost the State money because those opened before 2018 are exempt from personal income tax for up to thirteen years and allow, when they are spent on a loan, to obtain a bonus from the State (up to a maximum of 1,525 euros), the amount of which depends on the interest received.
The Court of Auditors estimates the cost to the State in 2022 of these old PEL at 411 million euros”without the State withdrawing any economic return or directing the resource towards uses of general interest as is the case of regulated savings accounts“, he underlines. She “I recommend thinking about an extraction device» of the advantage of the old PEL compared to other savings products, which he considers «unjustified and even disproportionate“.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire responded on Monday that he had “take noteof the court’s recommendations, content to say that the Court’s conclusion on PELs “can legitimately raise questions about the efficiency of allocating this housing savings“.
“A compromise is a compromise»
Reviewing the rates of the old PEL is not easy because they are governed by contracts between individuals and banks. The issue is all the more delicate since inflation, which reached 5.8% in August in one year according to INSEE, is reducing the real earnings of savers. “A commitment is a commitment and you have to respect it“, reacts to AFP François Carlier, general delegate of the CLCV consumer association. If the banks decided to lower the remuneration of the old passbooks, this would give rise to important litigation and would damage their image in the eyes of their clients, underlines the Court of Auditors.
Therefore, it identifies other solutions, such as a negotiation between the banks and their clients to close the PEL, in exchange for compensation, or a modification of the contracts by law in the name of the general interest, in exchange for a commitment from the banks. .to finance priority projects, such as the ecological and energy transition. The FBF assures that “the profession is open to participate in the work that the Court recommends to public authoritiesand favors a regulatory change in the performance of the old PEL.
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