European Central Bank - eurosystem
Search Options
Home Media Explainers Research & Publications Statistics Monetary Policy The €uro Payments & Markets Careers
Sort by

Claudia Girardone

9 September 2022
Do negative interest rates affect banks’ cost efficiency? We exploit the unprecedented introduction of negative policy interest rates in the euro area to investigate whether banks make a virtue out of necessity in reacting to negative interest rates by adjusting their cost efficiency. We find that banks most affected by negative interest rates responded by enhancing their cost efficiency. We also show that improvements in cost efficiency are more pronounced for banks that are larger, less profitable, with lower asset quality and that operate in more competitive banking sectors. In addition, we document that enhancements in cost efficiency are statistically significant only when breaching the zero lower bound (ZLB), indicating that the pass-through of interest rates to cost efficiency is not effective when policy rates are positive. These findings hold important policy implications as they provide evidence on a beneficial second-order effect of negative interest rates on bank efficiency.
JEL Code
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems