Denied credit because I don't speak German

37 posts in this topic

Posted

I was planning on getting a small line of credit (less than 5k Euros) and have about the equivalent in my bank account. I'm a Canadian freelance consultant here in Germany.

Before my conversation even started about what the requirements are, I was told that Sparkasse does not provide any financing if you do not speak German.

Have to say, I'm a bit surprised. I'm sure there are many Europeans without German (French, Scandinavian, etc) that come to Germany to conduct business,etc and could benefit from local banking/financing options.

Could someone tell me if this is standard across Germany or is this just some isolated case.

Greatly appreciated.

Mittelove

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

What do you mean exactly by a "small line of credit"? A loan? Or an authorised overdraft?

Although I find it hard to believe that banks as a general rule will deny credit for non-German speakers, it is true that all correspondence, contracts etc. will be in German. I suppose this is one way for them to insure that they don't make agreements with people who may void them and then claim they didn't understand what they were signing up for. Is it possible that there was a miscommunication, that they may have stated they cannot help you unless you bring along a German speaker who will ensure you know what you're signing? Just as a matter of interest, how long have you been in Germany? And how long have you been with this bank? I think it's likely that the cause of their refusal lies there.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I understand that contracts and terms are specified in German and as such I would/should understands the details clearly. So why not develop options for a French, English, etc speaker. Why not take the business?

I've been in Germany for four months and I was told in plain English that it was not possible. I asked how about French (bc I am bilingual) and was told the same. It's possible I haven't been in Germany long enough for their liking...but why not just state that?

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm a Canadian freelance consultant here in Germany.

So why not develop options for a French, English, etc speaker. Why not take the business?

I've been in Germany for four months and I was told in plain English that it was not possible.

As a recently arrived self-employed foreigner who doesn't speak German you don't really fit the Sparkassen target group.

I know that the Deutsche Bank offers some services in English and probably has English translations of the necessary credit documents, however, they would probably not be interested in lending you money yet.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

@ Mittelove..

Would you lend any money to a stranger that cant communicate with you who has only been in the country for 4 months?

I doubt it!, so why should the bank?

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Now where is that If I was back in my home country I could.... thread?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the input, Engelchen and Frollein. I'll check that thread and check DB.

SpiderPig, I've gotten a LOC without issue in several countries within 6 mths...China, Israel, Sweden and US. I don't think it's unreasonable concept in such a global world. Develop an extra option or two, this an EU economy where there are many languages for god sakes.

If the issue is how long I've been here, then why not tell me? Why lie to me?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

There may be many languages, but the official language here is German, and all legal documents are in German. Even if there is an English translation available, it is the German version that is official and legally binding. Thus their reticence to do business in anything other than German.

As mentioned above, check with DB. I do my online banking with them in English.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Money in itself speaks ALL languages.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

ummmm, you are 26 y.o. and have already borrowed money in four different countries?? And then - presumably - lived long enough in each of these countries to pay back the loans???

I think the language issue is not so much a lie as a brush-off, as it's just one of many reasons why the bank wouldn't consider you a good credit risk.

You say you have ca. 5000€ in your account - are their regular amounts coming in from your freelance activities? Unless you had actual income, I can understand a bank not lending; they want to be sure of getting their money back.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

or learn German :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Ask another bank. Maybe a Swiss one.

NO!!! That's where I keep my money. What if she doesn't pay it back?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Sparkasse is a "regional bank" and I'm not eben sure if a sparkasse by definition is a bank. They traditionally look for local business and in Berlin probably specialize in Hartz4 payouts. :rolleyes:

Deutsche Bank or Commerze Bank are your best bets with english only service.

ING/DiBa might work to as an online bank.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

damn Germans writing their contracts in German! taking a frigin liberty if you ask me

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

People don't get me wrong. But if you live in Germany it is normal to expected that the default language would be of course - a German language, so go and learn German, because you're in Germany after all.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I guess there's some kind of legal requirement that clients should sign that they "read and understood the terms and conditions" of whatever it is they are signing. Obviously, that can't be true if the contract is drawn up in German only, and the person, by his/her own admission, speaks no German at all.

A Sparkasse is probably not the best choice for a non-German-speaking foreigner, as the people there are less likely to speak English than at a big commercial bank. An online bank account (see comparison) might also be a good idea, as it takes very little time to figure out how the online interface works, even if one doesn't speak German.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

How easy is it to get a bank-loan from the banks who offer purely online accounts? (since a few people have already suggested that).

From the OP's description of him/herself, I don't think s/he has much chance of getting a bank loan from any bank in Germany at the moment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am with sparkasse. When I arrived in germany I couldn't speak any german, and even now, I sound like a 3 year old when I speak german, but the staff at my local branch have been nothing but helpful since I arrived, including assigning me an assistant who speaks very good english. At least in my branch, they seem used to dealing with expats. In order to get a credit card with them, they told me that they needed to see my salary coming in to my account for a few months. So after about 3-4 months I was allowed to get the credit, and there was nothing about "You're not allowed because you're not a german-speaker". Of course it's my own funeral if I don't understand what's written in the small print of the contract. Also, the credit limit is 2k and not 5k, so I don't know what would have happened if I'd tried to ask for a larger amount (I don't need it to be larger, so I didn't ask). I think the point is they want to see some proof that you can re-pay your debts, and I agree with the above poster that the thing about "not available for non-german speakers" sounds like a brush-off.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am with sparkasse. When I arrived in germany I couldn't speak any german, and even now, I sound like a 3 year old when I speak german, but the staff at my local branch have been nothing but helpful since I arrived, including assigning me an assistant who speaks very good english. At least in my branch, they seem used to dealing with expats. In order to get a credit card with them, they told me that they needed to see my salary coming in to my account for a few months. So after about 3-4 months I was allowed to get the credit, and there was nothing about "You're not allowed because you're not a german-speaker".

But I bet you have a stable income. Then there is no reason for them to deny anything.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Mittelove, just find another bank/branch for your money. Look around for an English-friendly one, and let them know that you'll be interested in opening a line of credit if/when your credit rating is good enough. If they say, "Sorry, no credit without Deutsch" then move on.

Even if the contract can only be done in German, the prospective customer can take the contract to a friend, professional translator, licensed legal professional, or whoever, and have it explained before signing. There is no reason the customer should need to sign any contract immediately at the bank. Therefore denying someone such a service because of language is stupid, and if it was truly the bank's reason then the bank was just being difficult. Also it is unreasonable to expect that everyone is contract-fluent in German upon arrival in German. So lay off the "learn German" and "this is Germany" comments, people. That's irrelevant to this issue.

It took me about 3 tries to find an English-friendly bank branch when I first arrived here. I was denied a credit card when I opened my account because my credit rating was too low. I was annoyed, but I didn't have grounds to argue. I arrived in Germany virtually broke and needed a salary advance from my company, so at best I had no credit history, at worst I had bad credit history (I doubt my good credit history in other countries was considered). After 3 or 4 months of stable income, they issued me the credit card.

For the record I am with HypoVereinsbank. They don't have much in the way of official English services, but the woman who handles my account explains everything to me in English. (Edit: Basically echoing MuffinTop's sentiment.)

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I know that the Deutsche Bank offers some services in English and probably has English translations of the necessary credit documents, however, they would probably not be interested in lending you money yet.

I have an account with DB. Initial setup was in English. Correspondence is in Deutsch. Online banking has an English version.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now