June 20, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 5 months ago

Italy's ICCREA chairman hopes govt won't block cooperative bank reform

ROME, June 20 (Reuters) - A reform seeking to merge hundreds of tiny Italian cooperative banks into two large groups to strengthen the sector is “a great opportunity” and must not be stopped, the chairman of one of the two groups said on Wednesday.

Italy’s new anti-establishment government has said it would review the reform. A prominent senator in the ruling League party has sought an 18-month freezing of the changes that would bring the two banking groups under direct European Central Bank oversight because of their significant size.

ICCREA Banca Chairman Giulio Magagni told reporters that if the government did not block the reform, a regulatory green light to the creation of the two groups was expected between July and August, speaking on the sidelines of a banking meeting.

“The benefits from the reform exceed its costs. It would be problematic to halt a process that has been going on for years ... We’re ready to talk to the government, the important thing is not to stop a years-long process,” he said. (Reporting by Stefano Bernabei, writing by Valentina Za)

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