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Negative interest rates, excess liquidity and bank business models: Banks’ reaction to unconventional monetary policy in the euro area


  • S. Demiralp

    () (Koc University)

  • J. Eisenschmidt


  • T. Vlassopoulos



In June 2014 the ECB became the first major central bank to lower one of its key policy rates to negative territory. The theoretical and empirical literature is silent on whether banks’ reaction would be different when the policy rate is lowered to negative levels compared to a standard reaction to a rate cut. In this paper we examine this question empirically by using individual bank data for the euro area to identify possible adjustments by banks triggered by the introduction of negative interest rates through three channels: government bond holdings, bank lending, and wholesale funding. We find evidence of a significant adjustment of banks’ balance sheets during the negative interest rate period. Banks tend to extend more loans, hold more non-domestic government bonds and rely less on wholesale funding. The nature and scope of the adjustment depends on banks’ business models.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Demiralp & J. Eisenschmidt & T. Vlassopoulos, 2017. "Negative interest rates, excess liquidity and bank business models: Banks’ reaction to unconventional monetary policy in the euro area," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1708, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1708

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clemens Bonner, 2016. "Preferential Regulatory Treatment and Banks' Demand for Government Bonds," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(6), pages 1195-1221, September.
    2. Rita Babihuga & Marco Spaltro, 2014. "Bank Funding Costs for International Banks," IMF Working Papers 14/71, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Borio, Claudio & Zhu, Haibin, 2012. "Capital regulation, risk-taking and monetary policy: A missing link in the transmission mechanism?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 236-251.
    4. Morten Linnemann Bech & Aytek Malkhozov, 2016. "How have central banks implemented negative policy rates?," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    5. Billett, Matthew T & Garfinkel, Jon A, 2004. "Financial Flexibility and the Cost of External Finance for U.S. Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(5), pages 827-852, October.
    6. Stijn Claessens & Nicholas Coleman & Michael S. Donnelly, 2016. ""Low-for-Long" Interest Rates and Net Interest Margins of Banks in Advanced Foreign Economies," IFDP Notes 2016-04-11-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Eisenschmidt, Jens & Kedan, Danielle & Schmitz, Martin & Adalid, Ramón & Papsdorf, Patrick, 2017. "The Eurosystem’s asset purchase programme and TARGET balances," Occasional Paper Series 196, European Central Bank.
    2. Phil Molyneux & Rue Xie & John Thornton & Alessio Reghezza, 2017. "Did Negative Interest Rates Impact Bank Lending?," Working Papers 17002, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    3. Baldo, Luca & Hallinger, Benoît & Helmus, Caspar & Herrala, Niko & Martins, Débora & Mohing, Felix & Petroulakis, Filippos & Resinek, Marc & Vergote, Olivier & Usciati, Benoît & Wang, Yizhou, 2017. "The distribution of excess liquidity in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 200, European Central Bank.

    More about this item


    negative rates; bank balance sheets; monetary transmission mechanism.;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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