Charities pay €2.3 million to banks in ‘negative interest’: NOS

Volunteers making food packs Photo: Depositphotos

Charities were forced to pay millions of euros in charges last year, after banks introduced fees to offset record low interest rates, broadcaster NOS reported on Wednesday.

In total, the 20 biggest Dutch charities paid €2.3 million in donations to the banks, with medical aid group Artsen zonder Grenzen paying €362,000 to keep their account open.

‘It is a lot of money which we would rather not pay the banks,’ spokesman Thijs van Buuren told the broadcaster. ‘Especially when you consider the billions of euros profits they made last year.’

Among the other charities which were caught out were the Red Cross, which paid €250,000 in negative interest and anti-cancer charity KWF which had to spend €231,000.

The big aid groups raise a combined €700 million from donations a year.


Some charities managed to reach a deal with their bank, keeping charges low, while others split their assets between multiple banks to keep fees as small as possible.

Unicef, the fifth biggest charity in the Netherlands, paid €10,000 in charges by sending its money to the headquarters in New York.

ING, which made net profit of €4.7 billion in 2021, told NOS it did not differentiate between different clients but that it had a special desk where charities could go for advice about keeping fees low.

ABN Amro, which booked net profit of €1.2 billion last year, said it would not have been fair on other non-profit organisations if charities had been exempt from the fees.

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