The European Central Bank (ECB) has handed 7.3 billion Euros to Euro-zone banks in the seventh round of a program aimed at boosting lending to companies and consumers. This is ahead of a new and more generous plan due to start shortly. The take-up in the targeted longer-term refinancing operation compares with 18.3 billion Euros the ECB lent in a similar operation in December and 15.5 billion Euros handed out in September. Banks have now taken a total of 426 billion Euros since the first offer in 2014.
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