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 productivity.
This paper was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) ahead of the Monetary Dialogue with the ECB President on 21 June 2021.