ECB launches new stimulus program for eurozone

FRANKFURT, Germany - The European Central Bank has launched its new stimulus program aimed at boosting lending to businesses and getting a slack economy moving.

The uptake for the loans to banks, however, was less than expected. The central bank for the 18-country eurozone handed out 82.6 billion euros ($107 billion) in ultra-cheap loans to 255 banks.

Market expectations for uptake of the loans had varied, from around 100 billion euros at the low end to over 200 billion euros.

Banks pay only 0.15 percent annual interest for up to four years. The amount they can borrow depends on how much they loan to companies. That is intended to make sure the stimulus money gets into the economy and creates jobs.

The eurozone economy showed no growth at all in the second quarter.