Consumer Insolvency in Germany

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1 Consumer Insolvency in Germany Michael Knobloch iff institute for financial services, Hamburg TACKLING HOUSEHOLD OVERINDEBTEDNESS European Conference HOTEL TITANIA ATHENS GREECE, 22 nd of November 2012

2 Over-indebtedness: a market and regulatory failure Lifetime earnings and expenditures Earning one s living means being able to have those liquid assets at that time when expenditures are due. The family has seized to be a social net. Need for Financial Services Unstable income streams (unemployment, third labour market, early retirement) and increasing needs for investments for consumers (transportation, household equipment, mass communication, housing, education, illness, accidents, mishaps and old age provision creates a basic need for credit, savings and insurance. Liquidity/Positive Cash Flow Professional financial services are productive if they manage to bridge this gap and make lifetime income available whenever it is needed. Overindebtedness The rise of over-indebtedness in society reflects the inability of banks and financial markets to meet the needs of the consumers and the failure of the legal system to regulate them into productive credit extension. 2

3 Personal Bankruptcy Laws in the EU Map: Jose Hevia via OpenClipart.org 1984 DK, UK, FR yes no draft DE NW, FI, SE, AT 1998 NL, BE, LU 2003 EST, PT, SK, CZ, LA, SLO, PL 2010 EL 2013? RO, LT, HU, IT 3

4 rejected Discharge in Germany status quo Consumer Private & up to 20 creditors Repayment plan Certificate Judicial settlement plan accepted rejected Period of good behaviour + Court Decision Plan with Discharge 6 years Discharge Individual Debt Advisor Courts Fiduciary Courts time 4

5 Debt Advice Institutions in Europe Member State Belgium Denmark Germany Institution social assistance authorities, nonprofit organizations, lawyers Consumer organizations Caritas/Diakonie, Red Cross, Welfare Organizations, Consumer Centrals, cities Finland France Local authorities, churches, private organizations Consumer organizations, nonprofit organizations, social worker, Banque de France Ireland Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Austria Portugal Sweden United Kingdom Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS), (state-funded organization) Service d Information et de Conseil en Matière de Surendettement, ministry for family affairs Kommunale Banken (Volkskreditbanken), social workers, private organizations, lawyers Local authorities, social workers Independent, nonprofit, licensed organizations, local authorities Consumer organizations, local authorities Local authorities Consumer Credit Counseling Service; National Debt line; Citizens Advice Bureau with its local branches; Commercial debt management services; Money Advice Trust; Money Advice Association 5

6 Former bankrupts situation after discharge 6

7 Problems related to personal insolvency and debt adjustment with current law Little number of out-of-court settlements No fresh start Overall duration too long Insolvency proceedings ( Good behaviour period ) too long Credit registers keep information too long Est. large amount of over-indebted do not use Insolvency proceedings Insolvency Proceedings not adjustable 7

8 Fresh start after 15 years in Germany? (average 37 to 52 of age) bankruptcy procedure removal from credit registers fresh start debt advice discharge regain of income incidence years 8

9 Discharge State Time Administration Comment Austria 7 Fiduciary 10 if less than 10 % Belgium 3 to 5 Prolongation if real property is kept Czech Republic 5 30 % repayment necess. Denmark 3 to 5 Debtor Possible Prolongation England/Wales 3 or less Debtor Discharge after 1 year Estonia 5 Fiduciary France 8-0 CB Commission Immediate release if no income Germany 3 to 5 Fiduciary 2013: 3 if 25%, 5 if cost covered ; 6 until 2012, Greece 4 Lithuania 3,5 7 until Luxembourg 7 or less Netherlands 3 Debt manager, fiduciary Prolongation to 5 possible with higher income Norway 5 Agent Prolongation to 10 possible Poland 5 or less Slovakia 3 Slowenia 2 to 5 Sweden 5 Debtor Prolongation to 7 possible 9

10 Bankruptcy Procedures in Germany 6.4 Million individuals overindebted (creditreform 2011) Second half year First half year

11 rejected Discharge in Germany Draft Amendments 2012 Wealthy Poor Income & up to 20 creditors Poor Poor No income or more than 20 creditors Repayment plan Certificate accepted Forced acceptance by court decision (Creditors Quorum: 50% & 50% Period of good behaviour + Court Decision Plan with Discharge cost covered = 5 ys more than 25% cov. = 3 ys Discharge Individual Debt Advisor Courts Fiduciary Courts time 11

12 Problems solved? Old problems: Duration - Early discharge after 3 years for typical clients not possible Duration - Role of credit registers unchanged New Problems: State claims shall be exemted Broader challenges for debt advise funding? 12

13 Reasons for overindebtedness in Germany 13

14 * Single occupancy and financial risk German population 2006 (total) German population 2007 (total) German population 2008 (total) Over indebted households 2006 Over indebted households 2007 Over indebted households 2008 Factor Singles % 38.7 % 39.4 % 46.8 % 49.3 % 51.8 % 1.32 Men % 17.8 % 18.2 % 31.1 % 32.4 % 33.4 % 1.83 Women % 21.0 % 21.2 % 15.7 % 16.9 % 18.4 % 0.87 Couples % 53.3 % 52.5 % 36.4 % 33.9 % 31.8 % 0.61 Couples without children % 29.0 % 28.9 % 11.9 % 12.6 % 12.0 % 0.41 Couples with children % 24.3 % 23.6 % 24.5 % 21.3 % 19.8 % 0.84 Couples with minors % 17.6 % 17.0 % 21.8 % 19.0 % 17.5 % or more children % 2.1 % 2.0 % 4.2 % 3.6 % 3.6 % 1.75 Lone parents % 6.6 % 6.7 % 16.2 % 16.5 % 16.0 % 2.40 Fathers % 0.9 % 0.9 % 2.6 % 1.8 % 1.5 % 1.75 Mothers % 5.7 % 5.8 % 13.6 % 14.7 % 14.4 % 2.50 Lone parents with minors % 4.0 % 4.0 % 14.0 % 14.4 % 13.8 % 3.48 Other household types % 1.4 % 1.4 % 0.5 % 0.3 % 0.4 % 0.29 n... 2,387 2,716 2,610 14

15 Lack of vocational training 15

16 Lack of work Lack of income below poverty line % 70 % 73 % 69 % 71 % 70 % 2011 (Q1) 16

17 Lack of financial services 17

18 Member State Family Support Delictual Fines Studentloans Taxes Other Belgium X X* *injury/ negligence Denmark Germany X* X? procedural costs,* delictual Estonia X* *intentional Finnland privileged Trustee fees France X X X Greece X X Lithuania Luxembourg X privil. Netherlands X (X) (X) X privil. Norway * * * * stricter consideration Austria X X* X * intentional Portugal X X X X Sweden X X* At the discretion of the court Czech Republic Exempted Claims UK X X X X* X * intentional Summary 56% 50% 50% 19% 19% X 18

19 Conclusion/Lessons for Europe? Enable a Fresh Start: Reduce Insolvency proceedings ( Good behaviour period ) to max. 3 years without precondition Limit data collection, storage and use for credit registers and the state Enable Discharge with no exemption In every EU-Memberstate ( ) 19

20 Information and Data Consumer Insolvency Regulation J.J. Kilborn, Expert Recommendations and the Evolution of European Best Practices For the Treatment of Overindebtedness, , 2011, 63 S., Kluwer Legal Practical Information for Europe European Consumer Debt Net (ECDN), Responsable Credit European Coalition for Responsable Credit (ECRC), Over-Indebtedness in Germany iff-überschuldungsreport (since 2007, yearly), 20

21 Thank you for your attention! Michael Knobloch institute for financial services Rödingsmarkt 31/ Hamburg Germany 21

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