The new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB), building at right, under construction on the water front of the River Main,in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
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Europe's largest banks are finally putting hundreds of billions of dollars of unwanted assets up for sale amid mounting competition among buyers and regulatory pressure.Banks led by London-based Barclays PLC and including UniCredit SpA in Milan and Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich have shunted more businesses, bad loans and spoiled investments into units to be sold or wound down.For years, investors have been looking to buy assets banks haven't been willing to sell.Banks sold 40.9 billion euros ($54 billion) of European loans tied to property in the first six months of the year, more than seven times the amount in the first half of 2013, Cushman & Wakefield said last month.The bank had 468.6 billion pounds ($777 billion) of assets in the unit at the end of June.UniCredit, Italy's largest bank, started to quantify the bad loans it's disposing of in March, while smaller competitor Intesa Sanpaolo SpA set up a vehicle the same month to wind down unwanted assets.Europe's efforts to clean up and recapitalize its biggest banks lagged behind those in the U.S., where the Treasury Department set up the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program in October 2008 after the housing market meltdown and collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
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