FRANKFURT, Feb 12 (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymakers held a telephone conference on Thursday concerning the provision of Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to banks in Greece, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The ECB has authorised Greece’s national central bank to provide the country’s lenders with some 60 billion euros ($68.08 billion) in ELA, people familiar with the matter have said, but this requires regular approval from the ECB’s Governing Council.
The ECB declined to comment, when asked about the telephone conference.
ELA provision is critical to the fate of Greece’s banks, and in turn the country’s fate, after the ECB cancelled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return for funding last week.
Although Greece’s national central bank awards ELA to Greek banks, the ECB’s Governing Council has the final say on ELA operations, which are subject to tight restrictions. Banks must be solvent to tap the liquidity.
The ECB’s Governing Council next gathers on Feb. 18 but its 25 members are free to hold teleconferences at any time. ($1 = 0.8813 euros) (Reporting By John O‘Donnell; editing by Paul Carrel)