The introduction of negative interest rates in the euro zone has been "broadly" beneficial for banks , according to the minutes of the latest meeting of the European Central Bank's Governing Council.
The document, released Thursday afternoon, detailed the differing views in the council ahead of the slew of measures it announced last month to tackle fragile growth and deflation.
The most controversial of the measures was a cut in its deposit rate, deeper into negative territory. A negative rate effectively charges lenders who park cash at the central bank and many analysts were concerned that this could dent revenues at organizations that were yet to fully rebalance after the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.
However, the minutes showed that a "number of arguments were put forward pointing to the benefits of a further cut in the deposit facility rate."
"Lowering the rate further into negative territory was seen as an effective tool for providing additional monetary easing, which also reinforced the impact of the other monetary policy measures in place by stimulating the 'velocity of reserves'," the minutes said.
"As regards the possible impact on banks' profitability, a general equilibrium perspective was warranted that went beyond the direct effects of negative interest rates on the profit and loss account of banks. Taking a broader view, on balance, the combination of all monetary policy measures taken, including negative rates, appeared to have contributed positively to banks' profitability thus far."