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Spanish Lender Gets $24 Billion Lifeline

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a bank bailout in Spain.

Spain's third-largest lender, Bankia, is getting a $24 billion lifeline from the Spanish government. The move is a part of Madrid's effort to return some stability to the country's struggling financial sector. The amount is far larger than analysts had predicted. It will be the biggest bailout in Spanish history. It effectively nationalizes Bankia, which was devastated financially by the collapse of Spain's housing market.

The move follows Standard & Poor's announcement last week that it will cut the bank's credit rating. The ratings agency also downgraded three other Spanish banks and predicts still more trouble ahead for Spain's economy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.