Sunday 18 August 2019

Quarter have little idea about Central Bank's work

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery
Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery

Colm Kelpie

About a quarter of people have limited or no idea what the Central Bank does, according to deputy governor Sharon Donnery.

And of those that do, about half think the institution funds the Government, while about a fifth think it provides loans to the public.

Ms Donnery was quoting from a survey of public attitudes towards the regulator, in a speech at the European Central Bank Communications Conference.

"Survey evidence suggests a quarter of people have limited or no knowledge of the Central Bank of Ireland. Of those that do, the results are mixed. For example, 48pc of people think we finance the government, a similar number think we promote financial services, and 20pc think we give loans to the public," Ms Donnery said.

"So we have a lot of work to do."

Ms Donnery said central banks must shake their image of being secretive, detached and out-of-touch organisations.

"Therefore, we have a lot of work to do to regain trust and confidence. That must begin with better explaining what we do and why we do it, in order to enhance public understanding and - one hopes - public confidence in time," Ms Donnery said.

Meanwhile, in a separate speech, Governor Philip Lane said the amount of credit being given out remains "subdued" despite a rise in lending.

"At this time, while new lending is picking up, our assessment is that the credit cycle remains subdued so the counter-cyclical capital buffer is set at zero," Professor Lane said.

"But we review the buffer on a quarterly basis, so this is a policy tool that can be used to respond quickly to cyclical shifts in credit conditions."

The Governor said that a small but increasing number of EU countries have raised the counter-cyclical capital buffer in recent times.

Meanwhile,as lavish bond buys are wound down, the European Central Bank will increasingly rely on its longer-term commitment about interest rates to guide markets and provide stimulus, ECB chief economist Peter Praet said.

With a 2.55 trillion asset purchase stimulus scheme already reduced and seen ending next year, the ECB has promised to keep rates low for an extended period, hoping investors will believe that cheap money will be around even if crisis-era tools are slowly unwound. (Additional reporting Reuters)

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