MILAN, March 16 Lending by Italian banks to
families and businesses decreased 1.4 percent year-on-year in
February, its 33th consecutive monthly fall, even though the
pace of decline is slowing, banking association ABI said.
ABI said the February figure was the lowest rate of decline
since July 2012.
Loans to households and non-financial companies had fallen
1.5 percent in January, a figure revised from a 1.8 percent drop
announced a month ago.
Lending by Italian banks has been steadily falling since May
2012 as the euro zone's third biggest economy grappled with its
longest recession since World War II.
ABI said gross bad loans at Italian lenders continued to
rise, totalling 185.5 billion euros ($196.5 billion) in January
from 183.7 billion euros a month earlier.
($1 = 0.9439 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Stefano Bernabei)