NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- The European Central Bank Wednesday allotted €529.5 billion to European banks in a three-year refinancing operation, above expectations.

  • Banks borrowed €489 billion ($657 billion) in the ECB's first long-term refinancing operation, or LTRO, in December;
  • The aim of the ECB's LTRO is to make sure banks are stocked with enough cash to keep them lending to households and businesses;
  • The ECB was expected to make an allotment of €500 billion, according to a Reuters poll of money market traders. Forecasts ranged from €200 billion to €750 billion
  • .