File - Leading Italian banks are expected to take up the vast majority of longer-term cheap funds tendered by the ECB.
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Bank lending to the private sector fell 0.1 percent in February, data from the European Central Bank (ECB) showed Thursday, dashing expectations for an increase but inching ever closer to positive growth after nearly three years of contraction.While ECB President Mario Draghi hailed a resurgent demand from companies for credit this week on the back of his cheap loans for banks, lenders and businesses are more circumspect about the prospects for a strong upswing.Funding is not a problem for the banks.The bank borrowed 2.7 billion euros from the ECB in September to finance its campaign.After nearly collapsing under the weight of ill-advised property loans, the bank is cautious.A recent burst of demand among banks earlier this month for the ECB's cheap loans has raised expectations that it will push borrowing costs for businesses down further and translate into increased credit.
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