Negative interest rates, excess liquidity and retail deposits: Banks’ reaction to unconventional monetary policy in the euro area
69 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2017 Last revised: 23 Apr 2021
Date Written: September 24, 2020
Negative interest rate policy (NIRP) is associated with a particular friction. The remuneration of banks´ retail deposits tends to be floored at zero, which limits the transmission of policy rate cuts to bank funding costs. We investigate whether this friction affects banks’ reactions under NIRP compared to a standard rate cut in the euro area. We argue that reliance on retail deposit funding and the level of excess liquidity holdings may increase banks’ responsiveness to NIRP. We find evidence that banks highly exposed to NIRP tend to grant more loans, i.e. NIRP is indeed expansionary for the levels of interest rates seen in the euro area so far. This confirms studies pointing to higher risk taking by banks under NIRP and sheds some new light on results that associate NIRP with a contraction in bank loans, albeit in specific market segments. We are the first to document the importance of banks’ excess liquidity holdings for the effectiveness of NIRP, pointing to a strong complementarity of NIRP with central bank liquidity injections, e.g. via asset purchases.
Keywords: Negative rates, bank balance sheets, monetary transmission mechanism
JEL Classification: E43, E52, G11, G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation