Govt banks decree to promote mergers

Italy's small coop banks to share risks, rewards

(ANSA) - Rome, February 2 - A draft of a government banking decree on reforming Italy's 363 small cooperative credit banks would promote mergers in the sector in a bid to prevent future crack-ups by sharing the risks as well as the rewards, sources said Tuesday. The decree likely to reach cabinet Friday calls for setting up a holding company with the coop banks as majority shareholders. EU norms against State aid have forced the government to look for others ways to shore up this sector and save tens of thousands of jobs.
    Standard & Poor's said earlier in the day Italy's plans for its banks is positive, but no panacea.