MILAN Feb 19 UniCredit, Italy's
biggest bank by assets, plans to close an extra 350 branches -
or nearly 10 percent of its network - by 2015, CEO Federico
Ghizzoni said on Tuesday.
Ghizzoni said 110 of these branches will be shut by the end
of 2013, with savings of 15 million euros ($20 million) a year
in terms of real estate costs.
UniCredit, which has already closed 800 branches in Italy
since 2009, currently has around 3,600 branches in its home
Ghizzoni said that at current levels, the spread between
Italian 10-year government bonds and equivalent German Bunds was
still unsustainable, even if it was much lower than at where it
stood at the height of the euro zone debt crisis.
"No one is talking about it any longer, but at 270, 280, 290
basis points the spread is unsustainable. Either it goes down or
it creates serious problems for the Italian economy, for banks
and companies," he told reporters.
He said the spread would be one of the key problems for the
next Italian government after the Feb. 24-25 parliamentary
He said the latest polls showing the gap closing between
rival parties were a reason to be "a little more concerned".
"Italy needs political stability," he said. "As a market
player, one has to hope for a stable majority."
($1 = 0.7487 euros)
(Reporting By Silvia Aloisi and Gianluca Semeraro)