The impact of the low interest rate environment on the profitability of the european banking sectors

Ján Klacso, Štefan Rychtárik, National Bank of Slovakia, Slovak Republic

Pages: 3 – 20


The current environment of accommodative monetary policy is very challenging for Euro area banks. This is largely due to the falling interest rates and shrinking interest margins putting net interest income under pressure. Based on Consolidated banking data processed by ECB, a strong positive correlation between the net interest income and loans in banks’ balance sheets was confirmed. This relationship applies for both the status of individual variables as well as their year-on-year dynamics. Similar relationship was observed between interest margins and net interest income dynamics. Therefore a combination of falling interest margins and subdued lending dynamics creates increasingly challenging conditions to bank profitability. This effect is however heterogeneous across European countries. Traditional banking sectors including the Slovak banking sector are more sensitive to a decrease in net interest income.

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