Things just keep getting rougher for average citizens in Europe. Some have faced government seizure of accounts to help fund government operations and requirements that they explain withdrawals to their banks. Now, the European Central Bank (ECB) is imposing a negative interest rate on banks for their deposits. So, you can keep your money under your mattress or put it in a bank where the bank will use it to earn money while charging you for the pleasure. This is of course the central bank which directly relates to individual banks as opposed to individual depositors. Those banks will now pay to park their money and those costs will be passed along to depositors. Banks are likely going to try to hide the fact that the interest rate is now negative through fees and other measures.
The ECB cut the rate on its deposit facility for banks from 0 percent to minus 0.10 percent. It also cut its main interest rate to from 0.25 percent to 0.15 percent as well as cutting the rate on its marginal lending facility by 35 basis points to 0.4 percent from 0.75 percent.
It is an interesting situation where banks will now be treated as solely a safe place for holding your money but you will pay for the service as a fee. Much like the airlines where aspects of what was once viewed as the basic service are being converted into fees, banks will now be treated as akin to a safety deposit box. However, unlike airlines or safety deposit boxes, the banks are making money off the deposits. It is a fundamental change in function of banks.
I have long been critical of the tax increases and measures in Europe that will likely have displacement impacts on investments and movement of citizens and businesses. In this case, I would expect people to look for alternatives from Internet banks to foreign banks.