MILAN, June 26 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
"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)