BARI, Italy May 11 Italy's economy minister
sought to reassure his U.S. counterpart about the state of
Italian banks on Thursday, telling him he expected the lenders'
bad loans to fall "quite rapidly", an Italian official said.
Pier Carlo Padoan and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
met on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of Seven
industrial economies in Bari, southern Italy.
The Italian official said the two had exchanged information
about the soundness of Italian banks, which are saddled with 203
billion euros ($220.64 billion) of gross defaulting loans.
"The gross figure is expected to decrease quite rapidly,"
the official quoted Padoan as telling Mnuchin, adding he had not
given a time-frame for the reduction.
He said the fall would also be the result of a number of bad
loan sales currently in the pipeline.
($1 = 0.9200 euros)
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Isla