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Negative interest rate policies (NIRP) have become an established monetary policy instrument in the toolkit of the ECB. We discuss NIRP in the euro area based on theoretical considerations and available empirical evidence. We find that NIRP had some positive impact on loan growth and investment in the euro area, but that the room to further loosen monetary policy via NIRP may be small. NIRP is discussed also in the context of the general monetary policy environment. This paper was provided by ...

Policy rate cuts in negative territory have increased credit supply and improved the macroeconomic environment similar to cuts in positive territory. Dreaded disruptions to the monetary policy transmission channels as well as adverse side effects on bank profitability have so far largely failed to materialise. Thus, the evidence available today shows that the negative interest rate policy is an effective policy tool. However, systemic risks, including in the non-bank sector, should be closely monitored ...

In June 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) was among the first major central banks to lower policy rates into negative territory. The deposit facility rate was subsequently cut four more times, lastly in September 2019 (to -0.5%). As an unconventional monetary policy instrument used over a prolonged period, negative interest rates require attention because of their uncertain or possibly negative side effects on the banking sector and economy at large. Four papers were prepared by the ECON Committee ...

A widespread concern about negative policy rates is that they might depress bank profits and encourage risk-taking. We find that the impact of negative rates per se is limited. Other policy measures (TLTROs, tiered deposits) have largely neutralised the impact of NIRP on bank profits. Asset purchases might have been more important by compressing the yield curve. Any small positive impact of negative rates on lending and aggregate demand may have been swamped by the negative impact of low rates on ...

This note is prepared in view of a regular public hearing with the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), Andrea Enria, which will take place on 12 December 2019. The briefing addresses (i) Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) priorities for 2020, (ii) Banks’ profitability issues; (iii) Stress testing developments; (iv) some individual bank cases; (v) supervisory issues and policies (anti-money laundering, Brexit, and impact of Basel III and IFRS9), and (vi) the completion ...

Most significant institutions in the euro area generate returns below the risk-adjusted rate required by investors. This paper surveys some recent studies on the causes of this low profitability, and then discusses several actions that the SSM may want to undertake, to support banks in their quest for higher returns.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy to achieve viable profitability, but all banks need good strategic steering and risk management capabilities to adjust their business mix to changes in the operating environment. Banks have already taken actions to enhance profitability and the room of manoeuvre for the future is not that ample. Policy makers can take further initiatives to fix structural inefficiencies and provide better conditions for banks to enhance profitability. These concerted actions ...

In this paper we argue that the own findings of the SSM THEMATIC REVIEW ON PROFITABILITY AND BUSINESS MODEL and the academic literature on bank profitability do not provide support for the business model approach of supervisory guidance. We discuss in the paper several reasons why the regulator should stay away from intervening in management practices. We conclude that by taking the role of a coach instead of a referee, the supervisor generates a hazard for financial stability.

This paper examines how the ECB should respond to the currently low profitability of significant banks in the Banking Union. The subdued profitability appears to be a structural problem caused by overbanking, with too many bank assets chasing too few profitable banking sector opportunities. To address the root problem of overbanking, the ECB should use its existing supervisory powers to require significant banks with unsustainably low profitability to restructure reducing their overall size. This ...

Economic growth in the euro area has been sluggish since the onset of the global financial crisis of 2008. While some of this sluggishness reflected cyclical patterns, ongoing weak productivity growth and demographic factors point to slow average growth rates for the euro area in the coming decades. This will most likely translate into a lower equilibrium real interest rate. The ECB should follow the Federal Reserve in providing estimates to the public of average nominal interest rate it expects ...