Not the Best Move

According to Spiegel Online International, the European Central Bank intends to introduce a negative rate on cash deposits member banks make into their ECB accounts—a rate of -0.1%. This means that banks would be paying the ECB to deposit their money with the central bank: if a member deposited €100 million with the ECB, the latter would take a €100,000 fee.

The central bank’s motive is to stimulate more lending by those private and commercial banks, to get more money flowing in the EU’s economy. But with loan rates already at historic lows (the ECB itself is only charging 0.25% and intends to reduce that to 0.15%), it hardly seems likely that loan demand is the only impediment to lending—loan quality, borrower quality also are major factors.