Spain Banks’ ECB Borrowings Jump To $300 Bln in March

Spanish banks’ borrowings from the European Central Bank jumped by almost 50 percent in March, reaching the most on record, after the ECB boosted its support for the region’s lenders with more three-year loans.

Average net borrowings by Spanish banks climbed to 227.6 billion euros ($300 billion) last month from 152.4 billion euros in February, the Bank of Spain said on its website today. Lenders in the whole euro system took 361.7 billion euros, the data showed.

According to Bloomberg, Banco Bilbao (BBVA) Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Bankia SA and Bankinter SA are among Spanish lenders that said they’d taken the ECB’s three-year money to help them cover their funding needs amid a debt crisis that’s made it impossible for lenders to rely on market financing. Aid from the ECB is just a “palliative” that doesn’t fix underlying problems facing Spain, Miguel Martin, the head of Spain’s banking association, said in an April 11 news conference in Madrid.

The ECB said on Feb. 29 it would lend 800 financial institutions 529.5 billion euros in its second three-year operation. BBVA took about 22 billion euros from the two three- year operations, while Bankinter said it took 9.5 billion euros and Banca Civica SA 6.1 billion euros.