After half a decade of banking crisis, some measure of stability appears to have returned to the sector. Last month, 278 of Europe's banks repaid €137bn-worth (£119bn) of loans to the European Central Bank (ECB) - a move that looked impossible as recently as last summer. Those funds formed part of the €1 trillion of emergency liquidity that has been provided by the ECB to around 800 banks since December 2011 as part of its Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) - funds perceived as essential to safeguard the banks as the eurozone's debt crisis emerged in earnest during 2011.
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