The National Bank of Romania (BNR) yesterday granted a loan worth RON 4.42 bln (EUR 1.01 bln) to four banks, for seven days, via a repo auction at the key interest rate of 5.75 pc a year, Mediafax informs. Through such operations, BNR provides banks with cash, in exchange of state bonds. According to dealers, these loans were taken either by credit institutions that cannot access loans on the market, or by some local banks which, in turn, finance the Finance Ministry at decreasing yields. Both hypotheses were also evoked on the occasion of auctions held during the last month. Last week, three banks borrowed RON 3.56 bln (EUR 824 M) from BNR, also for seven days.