another look at the LTRO

The initial rate on the 3 year LTRO was reported to be ‘fixed’ at 1%, but turns out it adjusts with the policy rate and will be an average of the policy rate over the three year term.

So it doesn’t fix rates for the banks, it just ensures funding at the policy rate. Which makes sense, as the bank’s cost of funds is the policy instrument of the ECB.

Also interesting is how in the case of bank defaults the member nations guarantee the bank deposits. But those member nations get their funding from bond sales. And with the weaker ones that means bond sales to the ECB. So in that sense, the ECB is backing bank deposits. Which means when it provides liquidity and takes collateral, should the bank subsequently realize losses, causing the ECB to realize losses on the funds provided to the bank for liquidity, the member nation would then sell bonds to the ECB to get the funds to pay for the loans it got from the ECB.

Again, it all comes down to the ECB writing the check. And it all works from a solvency point of view when the ECB writes the check. And the ECB writing the check introduces a serious moral hazard issue. Hence the (over) emphasis on austerity.

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