Italy's top three banks 'systemically important', need buffer - CenBank

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's top three banks UniCredit CRDI.MI, Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI and Monte dei Paschi BMPS.MI will need to hold additional capital against their assets from 2018 as they are "systemically important institutions", the Bank of Italy said.

UniCredit is Italy’s only globally systemically important institution (G-SIFI). On Wednesday, the Bank of Italy said in a document on its website UniCredit had also been classed, together with Intesa and Monte dei Paschi, as an “Other Systemically Important Institution” (O-SII).

Starting from 2018 the three banks will be required to hold a capital buffer set to increase gradually over the next four years to reach 1 percent of assets for UniCredit in 2021, 0.75 percent for Intesa and 0.25 percent for Monte dei Paschi.

Italian banks are widely seen as undercapitalised and they are struggling under a pile of bad loans left behind by a deep recession that ended in 2013.

Monte dei Paschi is awaiting the outcome of a crucial constitutional referendum on Dec. 4 before attempting to launch a share sale to raise 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in capital this year to stave off the risk of being wound down.

UniCredit is expected to launch a cash call for up to 13 billion euros in February, sources have said.

Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Tom Brown