The Fed is desperately trying to find ways to dial back on its $85 billion per month in bond purchases, an extreme stimulus program known as "quantitative easing," while still supporting the economy. One possible approach would be to stop paying banks a tiny interest rate for money they store at the Fed for safekeeping. The idea being that banks would be more inclined to put money to work with lending and other stuff that helps the economy.
But according to banks, that tiny Fed interest payment is the only thing that helps banks break even on savings accounts and other deposit services they provide. In order to protect their multi-billion-dollar bonuses and bank profits -- which have bounced to record highs since that financial crisis the banks helped create, a crisis from which the Fed and the American taxpayer bailed them out -- banks will sadly have no choice but to punish their customers.
That's not all: The banks say that, without that interest payment, they might also be pushed to take ever-crazier risks with money that was once safely parked at the Fed, the FT reports. Stop us before we kill the economy again, the banks are saying. And by "stop us," they mean, "give us all of your money..."
Some of the information from this article comes from the Financial Times (subscription only).