The bank lending channel revisited

BIS Working Papers No 297
February 2010


A central proposition in research on the role that banks play in the transmission mechanism is that monetary policy imparts a direct impact on deposits and that deposits, insofar as they constitute the supply of loanable funds, act as the driving force of bank lending. This paper argues that the emphasis on policy-induced changes in deposits is misplaced. A reformulation of the bank lending channel is proposed that works primarily through the impact of monetary policy on banks' balance sheet strength and risk perception. Such a recasting implies, contrary to conventional wisdom, that greater reliance on market-based funding enhances the importance of the channel. The framework also shows how banks, depending on the strength of their balance sheets, could act either as absorbers or amplifiers of shocks originiating in the financial system.

JEL Classification Numbers: E40, E44, E51, E52, E58

Keywords: Monetary Policy, Bank Lending Channel, Bank Capital, Credit, Money