“Good news for savers but premiums remain below inflation”

The low rate of the last decade has not dampened the enthusiasm of the French, who have broken records with the health crisis. The…

The low rate of the last decade has not dampened the enthusiasm of the French, who have broken records with the health crisis. In 2022, a two-point increase in the exchange rate allowed Livret A to collect 25.8 billion euros, the third best collection in the history of the book.

1 Still less than inflation

Livret A rate is determined by a formula combining interest rate and inflation. In 2022, eight out of ten French people demanded that interest rates should finally be indexed to inflation. And despite rising to 1er February, we’re still a long way from it.

“It is only about the application of the legal formula, not the exception… We are very dissatisfied with what has happened since 2021, when inflation resumes according to Eurostat”, emphasizes Guillaume Prache, president of Faider (federation of independent associations for the protection of pensioners) 1,4 representing a million French depositors. “The interest rate increase is good news. Of course. Still better than nothing. But we are much lower than inflation (6.2%). And this differential leads to a loss of purchasing power for small savers. »

2 A good reflex though

“You have to take advantage of these rates,” said Philippe Crevel, managing director of the Cercle de l’Epargne. “The French do not have an impressive amount of cash lying in their current accounts: around 520 billion euros against the 370 billion euros placed in Livret A. “It must be fully used to create prudent savings”, confirms Guillaume Prache, who also mentions the Sustainable and Solidarity Development Handbook (A indexed in the handbook).

Not to mention the lesser-known popular savings account, whose premium rose to +6.1% in 1st year.er February, making it the only financial investment with an inflation-adjusted return. The economy minister himself promoted it on Friday, encouraging the French to subscribe to it. The ten million depositors who could benefit from it (as a family ratio) have yet to open one. A new information campaign will be directed to all possible beneficiaries in the coming weeks.

3 What about other investments?

Except for promotions and new customer attraction offers offered for a short period of time, the bank book premium generally remains very low and almost nil. “However, we can expect increases, but at a lower rate than Livret A”, assures Philippe Crevel. “It would be very surprising”, suspects Guillaume Prache, who is not very interested in this solution.

The two experts refer to life insurance whose euro funds are closer to the behavior of Livret A, except that they are more taxed. “However, rates that are already rising in 2022 will certainly increase in 2023, which could be interesting for contracts over eight years, which are no longer taxed. »

4 Impact on social housing and banks

An increase in the Livret A interest rate to 3% should correspond to an additional cost of €4.8 billion (€1.9 billion) for banks and Caisse des dépôts (€2.9 billion).

Because this savings product is primarily used to finance HLMs and urban renewal. As the Caisse des dépôts reminds us, an increase in premium rates automatically leads to an increase in interest rates on loans to social landlords. This has the effect of restricting their projects and penalizing social houses. “What we gain in terms of wages, we lose in terms of building social housing and protecting the most vulnerable,” explains Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

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