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Italy's bank reform will not ease credit crunch soon

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Reform of Italy's cooperative banks.


The "Investment Compact" decree, which the government approved on January 20, contained a deep reform of cooperative banks, known as the "Popolari". The ten biggest of these will be de-mutualised. As joint-stock companies (Societa per Azioni, SpA), their governance by a per-head voting system of their members ("voto capitario") will be ended. The scale of the banks involved is such that the reform will likely affect the Italian and the European financial system: eight out of 15 Italian banks under the supervision of the ECB are Popolari; all eight are covered by the decree.


  • If the decree is converted into law by the parliament in 60 days, it will take 18 months (to summer 2016) for the reform to be enacted.
  • However, the Popolari have already engaged in a fierce battle with the government in order to stop the reform or amend it.
  • A compromise over the limitation of voting rights seems likely.
  • Ending member voting control will make the Popolari more open to takeover; sector consolidation will soon start.

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