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Italian finance minister denies systemic risk in banking sector

Italian Finance Minister Pier CarloPadoan said July 24 that there is no risk in terms of systemic stability in thecountry's banking sector, while noting the existence of a few"contained" critical cases, the FinancialTimes reported the same day.

Padoan also ruled out a bail-in ofbank investors "for the moment," days before the results of aEurope-wide stress tests are due to be published. The stress test results couldfind at least one Italian lender in need of new capital, raising the possibilityof the government injecting public funds into the affected bank, the FT said.

Separately, Salvatore Maccarone,chairman of Fondo Interbancario di Tutela dei Depositi, told Corriere della Sera in an interview thatthe Italian deposit guarantee fund's voluntary arm could acquire ,Banca Popolare dell'Etruria e delLazio SC, Cassa diRisparmio della Provincia di Chieti SpA and to prevent the four banksfrom being sold at extremely discounted prices, Reuters reported July 23.

The at least three binding offersfor the four banks, which were rescued in November 2015. However, the highest bidamounted to no more than €600 million, compared to the €1.65 billion sought by theItalian banks that helped rescue the four entities, according to Italian pressreports.

Maccarone suggested that Italianlenders pitch in to help the FITD's voluntary fund acquire the four, saying theoperation would be considered a gain instead of a loss on their balance sheets,according to Reuters. He noted: "The problem is that we don't have theresources necessary to buy them and then also guarantee the needs of the bankspurchased."