The European Central Bank lowered its ratings standards — and raised its prices — for assets it is willing to buy from struggling banks.

The goal is to boost lending to European households during the largest economic crisis on the continent in memory.

The intensified bailouts comes less than a week after Greek elections left some in the market more optimistic the euro could hold together.

The ECB will now buy residential mortgage bonds and other securities rated BBB or higher. The central bank will also purchase asset-backed securities backed by commercial mortgages, autos and other consumer loans rated single-A.

The ECB said it would require the banks take a greater loss on the assets than before. Banks will have to take a 16% haircut for the single-A rated securities, a 26% hit on BBB RMBS and a 32% cut on BBB CMBS.

The new ratings standards will go into effect June 28.

jprior@housingwire.com

@JonAPrior