(Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank shouldn’t let concerns about its profitability obstruct decision-making over monetary policy, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus.
With interest rates exiting years stuck below zero to battle record inflation, the ECB and the region’s national central banks are paying millions of euros in interest on cash parked by commercial lenders in deposit accounts.
For some, like those in Belgium and the Netherlands, the payouts -- alongside generous terms on long-term pandemic-era loans to banks known as TLTROs -- are likely to trigger losses that risk being transferred to taxpayers.
That could be especially hard to swallow as the danger of a euro-zone recession rises.
“What I’m not in favor of is taking one angle, let’s say profitability, and starting to ask very bold questions,” Simkus said in an interview in Vilnius, where he heads Lithuania’s central bank. “These excess reserves have formed as a result of the monetary-policy decisions in the past.”
Simkus called reserves and TLTRO funds “all floors of the same building.”
“I don’t mind talking about each element alone, but it’s also important to see the whole picture,” he said. His preference is to deliberate “from a monetary-policy perspective,” saying “we should not delay those kinds of discussions.”
The ECB’s Governing Council is likely to debate the topic when it convenes next week for a non-monetary-policy meeting in Cyprus, according to people familiar with the matter.
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