A survey of a leading price comparison platform shows that banks in Germany are most keen on granting credit to Greeks living in Germany. But native Germans come a close second, way ahead of people from other nations.
Verivox is a leading German price comparison platform digging out the best offers for clients in sectors ranging from energy and telecommunications contracts to insurances and financial products.
As such, the company also has insights into the credit industry in Europe's powerhouse. Every adult living in the country that has a bank account in principle qualifies for securing a credit line.
In a survey of its own, Verivox has compared 11 nationalities to see which one stands the best chance of getting loans from domestic lenders. For this, it analyzed installment loan requests processed through its services between June 2018 and May 2019.
Lenders love the Greeks
The No.1 result that sticks out in the study is that lenders are happiest to grant loans to Greek nationals living in Germany. Of all German-based Greeks applying for a loan in the specified period, 73% received an offer from one or several banks. Surprisingly, that's slightly more than the 72% rate among native German applicants.
"At first glance, the results may come as a surprise to many," Oliver Maier told DW. He's a Verivox managing director responsible for the firm's financial services comparison division.
"Whether a loan is offered and granted, and how much is granted for that matter, depends largely on clients' financial standing, that is their creditworthiness, with an important criterion being people's monthly take-home incomes," Maier added.
The study bears out that German loan applicants logged average monthly net incomes of €1,952 ($2,162), slightly more than Greek nationals had at their disposal in terms of net earnings.
"Among all Verivox clients, German and Greek borrowers had higher-than-average earnings, but based on the figures we have, we can't really say why Greek nationals living in Germany received even more loan offers from banks than Germans," Maier conceded.
In the table of nationals from the 11 countries surveyed, Bulgarians, Poles and Hungarians faced the biggest hurdles when applying for a loan, with roughly three-fifths of all applications not resulting in a bank offer.
Big loan or small loan?
One is inclined to assume that those with above-average net incomes would also invariably seek above-average loans. But the Verivox study provides no proof for that.
"Clients that are preferred by banks because of their creditworthiness are not automatically the ones applying for or actually taking out the biggest loans," Maier explained. "Our most recent study shows that this was not the case in the period under review."
The highest installment loans of €19,700 were actually sought by Turkish nationals living in Germany. Native Germans applied for a little over €15,000 on average — that's a tad below the overall average.
However, earlier surveys do indicate that people with higher incomes tend to take out higher loans. "A closer look at Germany reveals that the highest loans generally go to above-average earners in the more affluent southern Germans states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse," Maier pointed out.
Verivox also looked at who wanted a loan most often among all the clients in question. It appeared that there was no direct correlation between clients' creditworthiness and the frequency of loan requests.
People from Croatia apply for loans more often than all the other 10 contenders, although they're only middle-of-the-table when it comes to their average net incomes. Greek nationals for their part do not ask for a loan very often, with their application frequency roughly 32% below the average.
The list of 11, from first to last place in terms of loans applied for, was Greece, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria.