July 17, 2018 / 1:16 PM / 10 months ago

Italy economy minister argues against halting mutual bank reform

ROME, July 17 (Reuters) - Most Italian mutual banks want to forge ahead with an already announced reform of the sector and it would be “complicated” to halt the planned overhaul, Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said on Tuesday.

The League — a part of the ruling coalition — has asked for a moratorium of the reform, which was introduced by the former centre-left government and is forcing hundreds of mutual banks (BCCs) to merge into two large groups.

The 2016 initiative aims at strengthening these banks, which are often tiny and have low profitability and a higher-than-average bad loan burden.

“Blocking the reform would mean abolishing it,” Tria told a parliamentary commission, though he added that the government was ready to discuss possible modifications. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Crispian Balmer)

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