Overnight lending between banks has traditionally been the key channel through which monetary policy is executed, making EONIA, the overnight unsecured borrowing rate for euro zone banks, a vital input for the ECB's decisions.

Lending between banks has progressively dried up since the onset of the global financial crisis, partly as a side-effect of the ECB's own ultra-loose policy. Daily EONIA volume dropped to a record low of 8 billion euros earlier this month.

The European Money Markets Institute is looking for ways to boost the number of unsecured bank-to-bank loans that are computed every day to set the rate, possibly by expanding the pool of contributing banks, its secretary general Guido Ravoet said in an interview.

EMMI has created a task force including the ECB and the 34 banks that make up the EONIA panel, Ravoet said. It plans to launch a public consultation in the first half of 2016.

Options on the table include taking on board smaller banks to take the total to 40-50 and even setting a minimum volume and participants threshold under which EONIA would be discontinued.

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