25 Years IWH

“The German Saver” and the Low Policy Rate Environment

It is widely claimed that “the German saver” suffers (i.e. generates significantly lower returns on her savings) in the low interest environment that Germany currently experiences relative to a high interest rate environment. With “low interest rate environment”, the observers tend to mean “low policy rates”, i.e. the European Central Bank’s (ECB) main refinancing rate.

24. September 2015

Authors Reint E. Gropp Vahid Saadi

© FuFu Wolf, Flickr

Suggested Reading


The Dynamics of Bank Spreads and Financial Structure

Reint E. Gropp C. Kok J.-D. Lichtenberger

in: Quarterly Journal of Finance , No. 4, 2014


This paper investigates the effect of within banking sector competition and competition from financial markets on the dynamics of the transmission from monetary policy rates to retail bank interest rates in the euro area. We use a new dataset that permits analysis for disaggregated bank products. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we test whether development of financial markets and financial innovation speed up the pass through. We find that more developed markets for equity and corporate bonds result in a faster pass-through for those retail bank products directly competing with these markets. More developed markets for securitized assets and for interest rate derivatives also speed up the transmission. Further, we find relatively strong effects of competition within the banking sector across two different measures of competition. Overall, the evidence supports the idea that developed financial markets and competitive banking systems increase the effectiveness of monetary policy.

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