Europe’s Banks Repaying Aid Early

Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Europe’s Banks Repaying Aid Early

The Wall Street Journal, By BRIAN BLACKSTONE in Frankfurtand DAVID ENRICH in Davos, Switzerland

Hundreds of European banks are rushing to repay cheap loans they borrowed from the European Central Bank a year ago, in a show of confidence that financial markets are returning to health three years into the region’s debt crisis.

The ECB will get back €137 billion ($182.2 billion) from 278 banks on Jan. 30, the first day that the three-year loans can be repaid—and nearly two years before they are due—the European Central Bank said Friday.

That represents more than one-quarter of the €489 billion that banks tapped from the ECB in December 2011. Banks borrowed an additional €530 billion in a second installment of three-year loans last February, bringing the total to more than €1 trillion.

The ECB didn’t provide a breakdown in loan repayment by bank or country. Roughly one third of the money that was repaid came from Spanish banks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The data provide one of the clearest illustrations to date of the surprisingly swift healing of large swaths of the European banking system. It removes a major impediment to a gradual recovery of the broader European economy, which hinges on the health of its banks.

Read the story here at The Wall Street Journal.