US banks warn Fed interest cut could force them to charge depositors
Leading US banks have warned that they could start charging companies and consumers for deposits if the US Federal Reserve cuts the interest it pays on bank reserves.Depositors already have to cope with near-zero interest rates, but paying just to leave money in the bank would be highly unusual and unwelcome for companies and households.The warning by bank executives highlights the dangers of one strategy the Fed could use to offset an eventual “tapering” of the $85bn a month in asset purchases that have fuelled global financial markets for the last year.Minutes of the Fed’s October meeting published last week showed it was heading towards a taper in the coming months – perhaps as soon as December – but wants to find a different way to add stimulus at the same time. “Most” officials thought a cut in the interest on bank reserves was an option worth considering.
Executives at two of the top five US banks said a cut in the 0.25 per cent rate of interest on the $2.4tn in reserves they hold at the Fed would lead them to pass on the cost to depositors.....MORE
How's this for a pull quote:
...“It’s not as if we are suddenly going to start lending to [small and medium-sized enterprises],” said one. “There really isn’t the level of demand, so the danger is that banks are pushed into riskier assets to find yield.”...