The Court of Auditors asked on Monday that the remuneration of housing savings plans opened before 2011 be reduced, because too expensive for the State and the banks.
If your PEL (housing savings plan) was opened before 2011, it may be hanging by a thread. Small gold mines for savers who subscribed to it before 2011, the old housing savings plans (PEL) are in the sights of the Court of Auditors which asked Monday that their remuneration be reduced in view of its cost for the State and the banks.
Rates sometimes higher than 3%
Currently, the PEL, whose remuneration is fixed once and for all when the contract is taken out, seems not very advantageous with a rate of 1% since 2016, while a booklet A pays double (2%) and a popular savings account (LEP) 4.6%.
But this has not always been the case: before 2015, money placed on a PEL returned more than 2%. Its yield had even risen to 3.27% between 2000 and 2003 and exceeded 4% before 1994.
In theory, the PEL is a medium-term investment: it allows you to obtain a loan on favorable terms to buy real estate or finance work. Since 2011, it is only possible to feed it for 10 years and to accumulate interest for 15 years.
PEL subscribed before 2011 continue to accumulate interest for an unlimited period, at the rate set at the time of the contract, which pushes some savers to keep them longer.
A situation denounced by the Court of Auditors in a report published on Monday: “ the PEL is diverted from the historical objective of home ownership to become a long-term savings product “, she argues.
“A real annuity”
According to the institution, old PELs are similar to to a real annuity, in particular for the benefit of older holders holding high assets “.
This situation has been denounced for several years by the banks, which pay the interest.
According to the Banque de France, PELs opened before 2011 represented 107.7 billion euros last year with an average remuneration of 4.5%, against 3.04% for all PELs.
In a letter to the Court of Auditors published on Monday, its governor François Villeroy de Galhau describes the situation as ” anomaly “.
PELs also cost the State money because those opened before 2018 are exempt from income tax until their thirteenth birthday and allow, when spent on a loan, to obtain a bonus of State (up to a maximum of 1,525 euros), the amount of which depends on the interest received.
The Court of Auditors estimates at 411 million euros the cost for the State in 2022 for these old PEL ” without the State withdrawing any financial return or directing the resource towards uses of general interest as is the case for regulated savings accounts “, she underlines.
She ” recommend thinking about a removal device » of the advantage of old PELs over other savings products, which she considers « unjustified and even disproportionate “.
The Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire replied on Monday that he had ” took note of the court’s recommendations, contenting itself with saying that the Court’s finding on PELs ” can legitimately raise questions about the efficiency of the allocation of this housing savings “.
Review the rates of old PEL is not easy because they are governed by contracts between individuals and banks.
If the banks decided to lower the remuneration for old passbooks, this would lead to major litigation and would damage their image vis-à-vis their customers, underlines the Court of Auditors.
It therefore identifies other solutions, such as a negotiation between the banks and their customers to close the PEL, in return for compensation, or a modification of the contracts by law in the name of the general interest, in exchange for a commitment from the banks. to finance priority projects, such as the ecological and energy transition.