Italy's Pop Vicenza made offer for a merger with Pop Marostica

MILAN, June 26 Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:13pm EDT

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MILAN, June 26 (Reuters) - Banca Popolare di Vicenza said on Thursday it had made a binding offer for a merger with rival Banca Popolare di Marostica in the latest sign of long-overdue consolidation among smaller Italian lenders.

"Banca Popolare di Vicenza has presented today, after conducting a due diligence, a binding offer for a possible tie-up between Banca Popolare di Marostica and Banca Popolare di Vicenza," the bank said in a statement.

Smaller banks have borne the brunt of Italy's recession and are being encouraged by the Bank of Italy to merge to shore up their finances - a process which a sector-wide health check by the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to hasten. (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, editing by David Evans)

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