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Banking

Italy: Banks struggle to pacify ECB bad-debt push

Harsher-than-expected 100% coverage deadlines; no ‘significant’ impact on capital, insist banks.

Andrea Enria is already at the sharp end of rebukes from Italy’s populist government, only two weeks into his new job as head of the eurozone’s single banking supervisor.

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Andrea Enria

In mid-January, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, now majority state-owned, announced details from the December draft version of its annual supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP).

This included an unexpected European Central Bank (ECB) recommendation to bring coverage of its bad-debt pile up to 100% within seven years – something the market thought only stronger banks would have to do.

For deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini of the Northern League, the ECB might have been exerting unfair pressure on Italy.

“The new attack by the ECB supervisor on the Italian banking system and Monte dei Paschi shows once again that the banking union … not only does not make our financial system more stable, but it causes instability,” says Salvini, according to Reuters.

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Salvini might have saved his breath.

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