The Governing Council of the ECB sets the key interest rates for the euro area:
- The interest rate on the main refinancing operations (MRO), which provide the bulk of liquidity to the banking system.
- The rate on the deposit facility, which banks may use to make overnight deposits with the Eurosystem.
- The rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks from the Eurosystem.
The main refinancing operations (MRO) rate is the interest rate banks pay when they borrow money from the ECB for one week. When they do this, they have to provide collateral to guarantee that the money will be paid back. The main refinancing operations rate is one of the three interest rates the ECB sets every six weeks as part of its work to keep prices stable in the euro area. The other two rates are the rate on the marginal lending facility, which is the rate at which banks can borrow from the ECB overnight (this costs them more than if they borrow for one week), and the rate on the deposit facility, which defines the interest banks receive – or have to pay in times of negative interest rates – for depositing money with the ECB overnight.