Italy's Atlante fund to inject almost 1 bln euros in two regional banks

MILAN, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Italian bank bailout fund Atlante has agreed to inject almost one billion euros into two Italian regional lenders it owns to help boost capital, the lenders said on Wednesday.

Veneto Banca said in a statement Quaestio Capital, the manager of the Atlante fund, had pledged to put up 628 million euros ($655 million) by January 5 as part of a future capital increase.

In a separate statement Banca Popolare di Vicenza said the fund would pay 310 million euros into its coffers by the same date, also as part of a future capital increase.

Atlante, which took over the two regional banks earlier this year after their attempts to raise capital flopped, has called for a tie-up of the two lenders.

The European Central Bank wants the two banks to cut their pile of bad loans as quickly as possible as part of plans to fix their balance sheets, sources have said. ($1 = 0.9591 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Francesca Landini)