URGENT ¥¥¥ ECB says banks to repay 61.1 bn euros in ultra-cheap loans

The European Central Bank said on Friday that 356 eurozone banks will repay early 61.1 billion euros ($80.5 billion) of a second batch of ultra-cheap three-year loans from last year under emergency liquidity measures.

Under the ECB's special long-term refinancing operations or LTROs, which it launched last year to avert a looming credit crunch in the single currency area, banks had the option of repaying any part of the money after just one year.

"Accordingly, on February 27 ... 61.1 billion will be repaid in the tender by 356 counterparties," the ECB said in a short statement.