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BARI, Italy, May 11 (Reuters) - 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 Binnie)