MILAN Jan 28 Intesa Sanpaolo said on Tuesday it had fully reimbursed the 36 billion euros ($49.22 billion) in cheap 3-year loans taken from the European Central Bank, the first Italian bank to do so.
Intesa, Italy's biggest retail bank, said it had switched 21 billion euros of those loans into standard ECB open-market operations with maturities ranging from one week to three months.
The remaining 15 billion euros of loans had been previously paid back.
The outsanding financing with the ECB had fallen to less than 20 billion euros at the end of December and has been further declining since, Intesa said in a statement.
The shorter-term funding provides the bank "with more efficiency and flexibility in the management of our liquidity also on the basis of the alternative cost of short-term wholesale funding," it said.
($1 = 0.7313 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Gianluca Semeraro)