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ECB data suggest banks in recovery

Jan. 26, 2013 at 10:57 AM

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- European banks may be in better shape than assumed, given the number of banks repaying European Central Bank loans early, bank data suggest.

The ECB launched a low-interest, three-year loan program from which banks borrowed $652 billion with interest matching the bank's 0.75 percent benchmark rate. In February 2012, another $707 billion in low-interest loans was dispersed, The New York Times reported Saturday.

ECB, however, said 278 banks would pay back loans early, returning $183 billion out of the original $652 billion.

The return rate suggests banks are finding capital on their own. Some are also paying the loans back early because they suggest the bank is in trouble and paying back the loan is the quickest way to erase the stigma, the Times said.

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