ECB decision could be critical in Greek debt crisis

Already cut to junk status by Standard & Poor's, Greek debt is teetering on the brink of further downgrades – which could jeopardise its use as collateral with the European Central Bank (ECB). If the bonds become ineligible as collateral, it would deprive the country's banks of up to €17 billion in funding, according to one estimate.

On April 8 the ECB agreed to accept debt rated at least Baa3/BBB– by at least one ratings agency as collateral beyond the end of the year, making permanent a 2008 c