European banks eager for ECB credit

By Vikram Barhat | January 31, 2012 | Last updated on January 31, 2012
1 min read

Having tasted cheap liquidity in December, the now-not-so-shy European banks are champing at the bit to grab twice as much of the ECB’s second emergency funding supply on February 29.

The Financial Times has reported several of the eurozone’s biggest banks intend to double or triple their request for funds in the ECB’s three-year money auction.

Previously, the European Central Bank had flipped its credit tap wide open in December to help Europe’s troubled banking system, allowing hundreds of nervous banks to take out a record €489 billion ($639 billion) in loans.

The ECB hopes banks can use the credit to help pay off some €230 billion ($300 billion) in bank bonds that are maturing in the first months of 2012.

Many economists think the ECB funds will only put off an eventual reckoning, rather than attacking the root of Europe’s problems—copious amounts of government debt.

The measure is unlikely to convince markets that European governments can get a grip on their public finances. Despite the cash injection, Europe’s debt crisis will continue to churn in 2012.

Vikram Barhat