QE and the bank lending channel in the United Kingdom

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 19 September 2014

Working Paper No. 511
By Nick Butt, Rohan Churm, Michael McMahon, Arpad Morotz and Jochen Schanz 

We test whether quantitative easing (QE) provided a boost to bank lending in the United Kingdom, in addition to the effects on asset prices, demand and inflation focused on in most other studies. Using a data set available to researchers at the Bank, we use two alternative approaches to identify the effects of variation in deposits on individual banks’ balance sheets and test whether this variation in deposits boosted lending. We find no evidence to suggest that QE operated via a traditional bank lending channel (BLC) in the spirit of the model due to Kashyap and Stein. We show in a simple BLC framework that if QE gives rise to deposits that are likely to be short-lived in a given bank (‘flighty’ deposits), then the traditional BLC is diminished. Our analysis suggests that QE operating through a portfolio rebalancing channel gave rise to such flighty deposits and that this is a potential reason that we find no evidence of a BLC. Our evidence is consistent with other studies which suggest that QE boosted aggregate demand and inflation via portfolio rebalancing channels.

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