FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Use by banks of costly overnight loans from the ECB dropped to a more normal level on Wednesday, as four Greek lenders kicked out of mainstream ECB operations last month regained access following an infusion of cash from the country’s bailout pot.
Over the last week banks have been taking between 2 and 4 billion euros from the European Central Bank’s instant access facility, also known as its ‘emergency window’ as it charges 0.75 percentage points more interest than normal ECB funding.
The ECB does not disclose who uses the funding, but the jump was widely linked to its decision to eject four of Greece’s banks from its main lending operations after the country’s election stalemate threatened to derail previously agreed plans to recapitalize the four troubled institutions.
The central bank’s pressure seems to have paid off, with ECB President Mario Draghi on Thursday confirming Greece had now completed the funding injections and that the four banks had now been readmitted to the ECB’s lending operations.
On Friday, data showed use of overnight funding dropped back to a more normal 750 million euros following the move.
While the Greek banks are unlikely to be able to reclaim the 3-year and other longer-term funding stripped of them when they were kicked out the ECB’s operations, they will be able to tap the central bank for 1 percent funding again on Tuesday.
Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Toby Chopra