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Italy introduces new banking reform

Italy has introduced a new banking reform in an effort to change shareholder voting rules in the country's popolari or cooperative lenders.

Matteo Renzi

Launching the reform, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told reporters that the latest decision is aimed at ensuring that banks in the country will be able to deal with the challenges they come across in Europe and the world.

The latest banking reform is said to comprise a provision to enable bank customers to avoid payment of heavy fees to transfer current accounts, and aims to consolidate the industry.

Under the decree, the largest cooperative lenders are compelled to tighten their governance rules and become joint stock companies within a period of 18 months, Reuters reported.

Popolari lenders having assets of more than €8bn ($9.24bn) will be affected with the new measure, which is claimed to change the existing system that gives all shareholders in the banks one vote irrespective of their stake size.

According to Renzi, the new banking reform may be a controversial one, but helps to bring about a change in the existing system that produces "too many bankers and not enough credit".

Banks in Italy including Banca Popolare dell’Emila Romagna, Banco Popolare, UBI and Popolare Milano will be forced to reform their one-shareholder-one-vote governance, following the introduction of the banking reform.

Image: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Photo: courtesy of Partidul Social Democrat