ROME, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A merger between Italian cooperative lenders Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano is the most reasonable option and has the blessing of the Rome government, a government source said on Thursday.
The two banks are at an advanced stage of merger talks and such a tie-up would create Italy’s third biggest lender by assets, just ahead of Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
Popolare di Milano (BPM) is also being courted by UBI and one of the options that was being considered was a three-way deal between these two banks and Monte dei Paschi.
The CEOs of BPM and UBI met Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan on Wednesday.
Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni