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Report: Italy's bailout fund bids for small banks' bad loans

Italy's bailout fund has presented an offer for two-thirds of the €3.7 billion of gross bad loans of three small banks that were bailed out in 2015, Reuters reported Dec. 29, citing "two sources close to the matter."

The boards of Banca Etruria, Banca Marche and CariChieti may reportedly meet Dec. 30 to discuss the deal.

It is hoped that the disposal of the bad loans will facilitate the sale of the banks to larger rival Unione di Banche Italiane SpA, Reuters said. UBI Banca reportedly said it would buy the banks only subject to strict conditions, including the removal of bad loans from their balance sheets.

The three smaller banks, along with CariFerrara, were rescued in November 2015 through the use of a crisis fund paid for by Italy's healthier lenders.

The Italian government is hoping that a recapitalization and a consolidation of its troubled banking sector will shore it up. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the country's largest lenders, has an €8.8 billion capital hole that it cannot fill by tapping the private sector.