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Lost in terminology? Key concepts in simple words.

Who owns the ECB?

30 January 2020

All the countries in the EU own the ECB between them. This means they all contribute a certain amount to the ECB’s capital. But how do we calculate this amount?

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How you benefit from the euro

14 November 2018

As our currency, the euro has become an integral part of everyday life and it makes it easier for us to trade, travel, study, live and work abroad. But it’s much more than a convenient way of paying.

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What is the marginal lending facility rate?

13 September 2018

The ECB’s marginal lending facility offers overnight loans to banks. The interest rate charged on these loans is one of the three rates the ECB sets every six weeks.

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What is the main refinancing operations rate?

13 September 2018

The main refinancing operations rate is the interest rate banks pay when they borrow money from the ECB for one week. It is one of the three interest rates the ECB sets every six weeks.

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Why is cyber resilience important?

10 April 2018

Cyberattacks not only pose a threat to individuals or organisations but can also have broader consequences. Find out what the ECB does to promote cyber resilience and why we all need to be alert.

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What is bitcoin?

13 February 2018

Bitcoin is often called a virtual currency, but there are several reasons why it is not actually a currency. What are they? And why might you think twice before buying any?

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What is forward guidance?

15 December 2017

When the ECB gives forward guidance, we are providing information about our future monetary policy intentions. Why do we do this and how does it affect the economy at large?

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What are structural reforms?

18 October 2017

In the wake of the financial crisis, politicians and policymakers have often called for structural reforms to help lift economic growth. But what are structural reforms? And why does the ECB care about them if its mandate is to keep prices stable?

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What is seigniorage?

7 April 2017

The new €50 note is out and waiting for you in cash machines. But do you know how the central banks that issue the notes generate income as a result? Find out how seigniorage income works in the euro area.

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What is collateral?

2 November 2016

What is collateral and why do central banks require it?

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What are non-performing loans (NPLs)?

12 September 2016

Loans are considered “non-performing” when more than 90 days have passed without the borrower paying the agreed instalments. Why are bad loans an issue for banks and how does bad debt affect monetary policy?

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What are minimum reserve requirements?

11 August 2016

Banks are required to hold a certain amount of funds in their current accounts with the central bank. Why do they have to do this and how does it work?

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What is TARGET2?

29 June 2016

TARGET2 is a payment system owned and operated by the Eurosystem. But why is it important and how does it work?

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What is TLTRO-II?

24 June 2016

The second series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations is one of the ECB’s non-standard monetary policy tools. How do the new TLTROs help consumers, businesses and the economy, and what distinguishes them from usual refinancing operations?

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What is the difference between nominal and real interest rates?

25 May 2016

What is the difference between nominal and real interest rates? And why does it matter?

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What is the quiet period?

14 April 2016

Governing Council members observe a so-called quiet period before monetary policy meetings. What does this mean in practice?

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What is the deposit facility rate?

10 March 2016

The deposit facility rate is one of the three interest rates the ECB sets every six weeks as part of its monetary policy.

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What is a central bank?

10 July 2015

Is a central bank just another bank? What is the role of central banks in the economy and what is special about them?

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How is the ECB accountable for its actions?

10 July 2015

What does accountability mean for the ECB? How do we explain our actions to the public?

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What is monetary policy?

10 July 2015

Why does monetary policy matter? Because it has a direct impact on interest rates and an indirect impact on inflation, the economy and employment.

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