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Published: Wednesday, 4/6/2011

Huntington defends frequent loans from Fed

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

COLUMBUS — Huntington Bancshares Inc. defends its extensive use of a Federal Reserve emergency borrowing program during the height of the financial crisis in 2008, saying that its decision to use money was “prudent balance-sheet management.”

Huntington took out 15 emergency loans totaling more than $1 billion from the Fed in 2008, according to newly released records reviewed by the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. That suggests the Columbus-based bank was in worse shape than the public knew.

The Fed records, released last week, showed that Huntington borrowed far more frequently from the Fed’s overnight loan program than did any other bank based in Ohio.

Huntington maintains that the transactions were mostly repaid the next morning. In a statement, the bank said: “They were taken for a number of reasons, including testing the mechanics as part of our normal prudent balance-sheet management practices during a time of heightened market uncertainty.”



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