There you will find an article of the FT which was published the day right before the ECB press conference.
Senior bankers warn ECB over perils of negative interest rates / Alert sounded ahead of expected further cut / Lenders fear crippling effect on profits
LAURA NOONAN AND MARTIN ARNOLD — LONDON RALPH ATKINS — ZURICH
Senior European bankers have warned the European Central Bank of the dangers of negative interest rates ahead of a widely anticipated cut at the bank’s policy meeting today.
The ECB is expected to cut its deposit rate by 10 basis points to minus 0.4 per cent as it takes further action in its struggle to lift inflation and boost economic growth to normal levels.
Commercial bank executives are alarmed by the crippling effect on profits of negative rates which they cannot pass on to customers, adding to concerns about the fragility of financial stability in some parts of the eurozone.
But any attempt by the ECB to shield lenders from the effects of negative rates could weaken the policy and open it to claims that it is engaged in a beggar-thy-neighbour devaluation.
Andreas Treichl, chief executive of Austria’s Erste Bank, said another cut could encourage financial bubbles, hurt economic growth and create “social disparity” by penalising savers.
José García Cantera, Santander’s chief financial officer, warned that the banks that would take the biggest hit to their profits if rates were cut again were those least able to bear it.
Sergio Ermotti, UBS chief executive, last week warned that excessively low rates were prompting banks to extend too many risky loans because they “don’t know what to do” with deposits.
In April the industry hopes to lay out concrete evidence of the detrimental impact negative rates are already having, when the European Banking Federation will present the results of a review into how its members are affected.
For now, bankers are speaking publicly on the dangers in the hope that ECB policymakers will heed their warnings as they consider cutting deposit rates.
The ECB is looking at ways to insulate banks from some of the impact of negative rates. Vitor Constâncio, ECB vice-president, hinted last month that it could follow the Bank of Japan and introduce a tiered rate system to exclude some bank deposits. But that would blunt the effectiveness of the negative rates policy and other policymakers have said it is not the central bank’s job to protect lenders’ profitability.
Mr Treichl said the ECB’s “limits have been reached” after years of ultra-loose monetary policy that has failed to lift inflation to anywhere near the its target of “close to, but below” 2 per cent. He believes lower interest income at a time when wage growth is very modest would hit consumer spending. “It [monetary policy loosening] doesn’t push people into consumption. On the contrary, it pushes people to keep cash at home or at extremely low interest rates.”
Huw van Steenis, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said negative rates were a “dangerous experiment” as they eroded sector profits, incentivised lenders to shrink, hurt cross-border eurozone lending and could disrupt bank funding.
“Analysis” there on my blog, FT, 10/03/2016
“Euro volatile ahead of meeting “, FT, 10/03/2016