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Fitch Cuts Seven Italian Mid-Sized Banks; Affirms Banca Popolare dell Emilia Romagna Sc -Reuters


Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 03:30pm EDT 

Reuters reported that ratings agency Fitch downgraded the long-term ratings of seven mid-sized Italian lenders on Tuesday, citing deteriorating funding conditions as the recession in the euro zone's third-biggest economy shows no sign of abating. Among the banks cut were Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl, Banca Carige SpA Cassa Di Risparmio Di Genova e Imperia and Banca Popolare di Vicenza. Most banks remained within the investment grade category, but four of them, Banca Carige, Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Credito Valtellinese and Veneto Banca - slipped to BB -plus from BBB. Italian banks are under pressure because of the widening euro zone debt crisis and are seen as vulnerable because of their large stock of impaired loans and reliance on institutional funding. Fitch said it currently expects Italian GDP to contract by 1.9% in 2012 and to show zero growth in 2013. Other banks' ratings were affirmed, including Banca Popolare dell Emilia Romagna Sc at 'BBB' and Credito Emiliano S.p.A. at 'BBB+'. The outlook for all nine banks is negative. 

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