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Swiss banks commit to borrowing facility

UBS and Credit Suisse have joined forces with eight of the globe's biggest banks to create a $70 billion (SFr78 billion) fund designed to help keep each other afloat.

The two Swiss banks agreed on Sunday to contribute $7 billion each toward the fund. Other contributors include Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Barclays and Citigroup.

Should any bank in the consortium need emergency cash, each member would be permitted to borrow about $23 billion, or one-third of the fund’s total allotment. That figure could grow as more banks contribute to the fund.

The news comes as US investment giant Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Merrill Lynch was potentially spared the same fate when Bank of America announced it would buy that firm for $50 billion.

A report on Sunday in the Zurich newspaper, SonntagsZeitung, suggested that UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, might write off SFr5 billion ($4.5 billion) in losses for the second half of 2008.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR