The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 8

THE BOTTOM LINE

Less Than Zero: Will the Fed
Ever Adopt Negative Rates?
By Curt Long

T

he arrival of the COVID-19
pandemic brought with it myriad repercussions for financial
markets. The initial shock jolted
equity and credit markets, and trading nearly ground to a halt. While the
Federal Reserve has certainly pulled out
all the stops to keep markets liquid, it is
relatively powerless - at least over the
short term - to prevent safe asset yields
from sinking to near zero. This may
be advantageous for borrowers, most
especially the federal government, but it
exacerbates strains on financial intermediaries that make their living on maturity transformation.

It presents headaches for the Fed as well.
The virus precipitated the end of the
longest expansion in U.S. history, one
during which the Fed was only able to
achieve a peak benchmark interest rate
of 2.5 percent. That is less than half its
level entering the Great Recession. With
reduced room to apply its favored tool,
the Fed has turned to quantitative easing
(QE) and forward guidance to provide
further stimulus. Other nations have
looked beyond those tools to an option
even more controversial than QE: negative benchmark interest rates. Their use
in Europe and Japan has some rethinking whether zero is truly the Fed's lower
bound. What has been the experience
of central banks that have instituted
negative rates, and might the Fed bring
them stateside?

Impact Elsewhere

When a central bank implements a
negative rate policy, the purpose is to
8

stimulate lending by essentially taxing
financial institutions for holding reserves.
In the U.S., this would mean a negative
rate for interest on reserves. Another
potential purpose of negative rates, more

whispered than spoken by central bankers, is to devalue the domestic currency
to make exports more competitive. President Donald Trump has advocated for
negative rates on the belief that it would
THE NAFCU JOURNAL JULY-AUGUST 2020



The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020

The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - Cover1
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - Cover2
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 1
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 2
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 3
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 4
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 5
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 6
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 7
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 8
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 9
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 10
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 11
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 12
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 13
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 14
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The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 16
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 17
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 18
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 19
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 20
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 21
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 22
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 23
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 24
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 25
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 26
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 27
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 28
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 29
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 30
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 31
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 32
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 33
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 34
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 35
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 36
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 37
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 38
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 39
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 40
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 41
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 42
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 43
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 44
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 45
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 46
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 47
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 48
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 49
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 50
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 51
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 52
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 53
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 54
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 55
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 56
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 57
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 58
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 59
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 60
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 61
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 62
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 63
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - 64
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - Cover3
The NAFCU Journal July-August 2020 - Cover4
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