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World’s cheapest home loans in DK
The interest rates on home loans dropped another notch today.
When Nordea offered the popular adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), the interest on one-year so-called F1 loans fell to a historic low at 0.35 per cent. The three-year interest rate ended at 0.67 per cent.
At Nykredit, interest rates on the five-year ARM were down to 2.21 per cent.
"ARMs are very cheap. They provide a great way to have a low monthly payment, probably for a long time to come," said DR Nyheder's financial expert, Karsten Engmann.
He warned against utilising the low interest rates to acquire more debt. Instead, he recommended that people hold on to any money saved.
"Then, if interest rates rise at some point, you won't be forced out of your home because you cannot pay the interest costs," said Karsten Engmann.
He sees the low interest as a unique opportunity for home owners to secure their home loan expenses for years to come. A fixed-rate 30-year mortgage is available today at 3 per cent interest.
Banks grab social security
Danish banks have a tendency to set customer debt off from state transfer payments, a particular burden for those on social security who already have very little to live off, according to Berlingske.
According to the report, Copenhagen Council receives many complaints from frustrated recipients who have difficulty in making ends meet.
“People call us and say they have nothing to live off as the bank has taken their money,” Niels Bauer of the Transport Payment Service tells Berlingske.
Although he is unable to say exactly how many people are affected, he suggests the malpractice probably affects many of the 22,000 people currently on Copenhagen Council social security.
The council does attempt to help people in various ways. Either through a dialogue with the bank or by paying social security as a cheque, or to a bank other than the one in which the recipient has debts.
The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has confirmed that it is aware of the problem of banks grabbing social security payments, and the authority now plans to act.
“If the bank takes all of the social security, that is illegal. People must have something to live off. We are very aware of the problem and have studied some of the banks’ methods and can see that there is a need for universal instructions,” says FSA Department Head Anette Bjåland Andersen.
Bjåland says she will be contacting the bankers association in order to find a solution to the problem.
DKK 330mn jobs package for unemployed
Over 2012 and 2013 more than 330 million Danish kroner will be allocated to help the thousands of people who face losing their unemployment benefit in the new year, DR Nyheder has learned.
The details of the emergency package, which has been developed by Minister for Employment Mette Frederiksen, will be negotiated tomorrow by labour market parties, the government, the municipalities and unemployment funds. Yet it seems that there is already a consensus on the major elements.
The funds will go towards expanding the job rotation scheme in order to get more unemployed people into work. Money will also be allocated for jobs with wage subsidy.
All those who face being taken out of the unemployment benefit system will also be invited to interviews. These are likely to be two interviews with the job centre and unemployment funds.
According to DR Nyheder's sources, unemployed people will be entitled to a job adviser who can match them to the right jobs.
The financing for the emergency package will mainly come from reserves and new funds. Although DR Nyheder can reveal that a small amount will come from youth packages and education promises.
Bank savings reach a new high
Danes are saving their money in the bank like never before. In total, banks currently hold around DKK 819 billion, or an average of DKK 147,000 in savings for every Dane.
Consumer economist for Nykredit, Johan Juul-Jensen, commented on the recent figures from Statistics Denmark:
"These are record savings. We have never seen this amount of money saved up in banks before. The crisis is causing people to take precautions and be more careful with their money, but there's a wide dispersal. Some have a lot of money in the bank, some less so," said Juul-Jensen.
The savings amount to half the Danish gross domestic product (GDP).
Concurrently, while savings run high, interest rates have reached a new low. According to Juul-Jensen, these are grounds for spending more money and promoting consumer growth to benefit economic growth in Denmark.
"It doesn't appear likely, but the retail industry is certainly hoping for Danes to grow less cautious and more willing to spend," said Juul-Jensen.
He perceives the increase in savings as a backlash against the spending spree of previous years. Even the billions cashed from early retirement funds are not being spent in retail.
"The money from cancelled early retirement funds is seemingly not having the desired effect, so I don't think we should expect it to kick-start of the economy," said Juul-Jensen.
The majority of bank savings are held in low-interest accounts.
"Today's numbers show increased deposits into high-interest accounts, but there is still easy money to be made by simply moving part of your savings from a low-interest to a high-interest account," said Juul-Jensen.
Danish government plans to allocate billions more on education
Education and research are two of the main thrusts of the government’s budget proposal which is to be announced this morning.
The government is expected to allocate DKK20.2billion to the research budget – some 4.1 billion more than in 2007. Overall the government wants a research budget at 1.07 per cent of GDP.
Education and the grant system are also to be given a boost with an extra DK2.9billion.
Some of the other initiatives that have been presented in recent days are:
- A test centre for the water industry at DKK16.7million
- An improved effort to prevent work accidents at DKK12million
- A new Storstrøms Bridge at DKK3.9billion
- A package for youth, adult apprenticeships and job rotation at DKK635million
- DKK596million for energy research into the energy systems of the future.
The government is also expected to increase spending on vulnerable groups to the tune of DKK265million in 2013, predominantly to be used on vulnerable children and young people, integration and an increased effort for those on disability pensions and those on flexible labour.
The development aid budget is also to be increased by DKK371million in 2013, and further funds are to be allocated to police efforts to stop speeding.
Financing for the government initiatives is to come, among other things, from savings on business subsidies to the tune of some DKK2billion in 2013, some DKK500million of which is to come from stopping an allocation of some DKK500million in energy renovation.