Banks Start To Wean Themselves Off ECB Crisis Cash

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In the first step to unwinding its crisis policy measures, the ECB announces on Friday how much of 489 billion euros ($649 billion) in ultra long-term loans it funnelled to banks in late 2011 they are opting to repay early, Reuters reported. The European Central Bank lent banks a total of more than 1 trillion euros in twin 3-year, ultra-cheap lending operations in December 2011 and February 2012 - a ploy that ECB President Mario Draghi said "avoided a major, major credit crunch". The operations gave banks the chance to repay the loans early and on Friday the ECB will announce how much of the money borrowed in December 2011 banks plan to pay back at their first opportunity to do so. The payments are settled on January 30. A Reuters poll on Monday pointed to banks returning around 100 billion euros of the first round of the cheap loans, so-called LTROs (long-term refinancing operations) on January 30. Read more.