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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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Posted

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

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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?

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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.

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Posted

Money in itself speaks ALL languages.

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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.

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Posted

or learn German :)

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Posted

 

 

Ask another bank. Maybe a Swiss one.

 

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

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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.

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Posted

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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