The European Central Bank (ECB) on Friday announced that it would temporarily suspend early repayments of the three-year Longer Term Refinancing Operations (LTROs). "Repayments will be suspended over year-end period in view of the expected low interest and the concentration of other operations," said a statement issued by the ECB. Early repayments will be suspended between Dec. 23, 2013 and Jan. 15, 2014. The ECB cut its key interest to a record low of 0.25 percent earlier this month. The Governing Council of the ECB on Dec. 8, 2011 decided to conduct two longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs) with a maturity of 36 months and the option of early repayment after one year. More than 1 trillion euros (1.35 trillion U.S. dollars) of credit has been injected into the banking system through the two three-year LTROs. The ECB has said in a statement that the three-year LTROs had helped averted a major credit crunch in the eurozone.