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Draghi’s $158 Billion Free Lunch to Boost EU Bank Profits

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Banks are benefiting from a European Central Bank subsidy that could reach 120 billion euros ($158 billion), enough to pay every bonus at financial firms in London for the next 24 years at today’s levels.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA are among more than 500 banks that took 489 billion euros of three-year loans from the Frankfurt-based ECB at a December auction. The loans currently carry a 1 percent annual interest rate, less than a quarter of the 4.3 percent average yield on euro-denominated senior unsecured bank debt of all maturities in the past year, according to Commerzbank AG.