Banco BPM could be part of new wave of banking mergers - CEO to paper

MILAN, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Italy’s third-biggest bank Banco BPM could be part of a new wave of consolidation in the country, its Chief Executive Giuseppe Castagna told Corriere della Sera’s L’Economia insert in an interview.

Castagna, who helped create Banco BPM through the merger of Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano, said there were still too many “universal banks”, the number of which would reduce to between four and six groups in Italy.

“And we could be part of this new round of mergers, with banks of our size,” he told the paper. “We will see at the end of our (industrial) plan, at the end of 2019, if we have the strength to do it.”

The executive said the bank would reach its 320 million euro ($397.54 million) cost cutting goal one year ahead of plan. ($1 = 0.8050 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Stephen Jewkes)