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As if the Libor matter were not enough, banks now have to worry about the Euribor, or the euro interbank offered rate, which is increasingly being challenged. Knowledgeable sources believe that the European Union will soon accuse multiple banks of attempted collusion in the setting of Euribor. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) has already admitted its attempts to rig the rate and other banks will probably be pressured by regulators in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere into confessions, say industry and regulatory officials. UBS (NYSE:UBS) could be next, say inside sources, as that bank nears settlement of regulator claims that it tried to rig rates including Euribor.
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While many banks in Europe are having to divest loan portfolios so as to raise capital and to meet stress testing, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) emerges as one of the largest buyers, having purchased a minimum of $9.44 billion worth of loans since late 2011, including a $1.2 billion portfolio of Latin American loans from The Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS). The firm holds some of the assets through which to deepen client relationships and profitably divested the remaining loans to end investors. However, BofA has seen formidable competition from other buyers including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Barclays and hedge funds.
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