Sir GILBERT PARKER
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state what considerations make a comparison of the German savings banks statistics as to deposits and depositors with British savings banks statistics misleading or inapplicable for purposes of reference?
Broadly speaking, the considerations which make a comparison between the statistics of British and German savings bank deposits misleading, except with very considerable qualifications, are:—
For the above reasons the figures showing the total deposits in German savings banks do not possess the same significance as an index of the savings of the working classes as those relating to the deposits in savings banks in this country.
- (1) That in the United Kingdom deposits are limited to £200, and the amount deposited to £50 in any one year. In Prussia and other German States the practice varies, but in the great majority of cases there is either a much higher limit than that which prevails in the United Kingdom or no limit at all. The detailed figures are at the disposal of the hon. Member, if he desires to consult them. The result is that German savings banks have also become deposit banks for the well-to-do classes.
- (2) The attractiveness to depositors of the German savings banks is increased by the relatively high rate of interest allowed (namely, on an average about 3½ per cent. in Prussia), as compared with 2½ per cent. in the United Kingdom.
- (3) The great joint stock banks have not attained so great a development in Germany as in the United Kingdom, and shares in joint stock companies must not be less than £50. Both these causes, combined with the high rate of interest on deposits in the savings banks, tend
254 to deflect the deposits and investments of small capitalists to the savings banks.