Research Discussion Paper – RDP 2022-08 The Consequences of Low Interest Rates for the Australian Banking Sector


There is a vast international literature exploring the consequences of low interest rates for various banking sectors. In this paper, I explore how this international literature relates to the Australian banking sector, which operates differently to other jurisdictions. In the face of low rates, the profitability of Australian banks has likely been less adversely affected than what the international literature would predict, but the flip side to this is that the pass-through of monetary policy to lending rates may have been more muted. I then use a recent advance in macrofinancial modelling to explore whether pass-through in Australia could turn negative – the so called ‘reversal rate’ – and find that the features of the Australian banking system mean a reversal rate is highly unlikely to exist in Australia.