April 16, 2018 / 10:24 AM / a year ago

Bank of Italy head says mergers essential for lenders' profits

Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco looks on during a meeting in Rome, Italy, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME, Italy (Reuters) - Mergers and cost cuts are “essential” to boost Italian banks’ profits and allow them to comply with capital requirements imposed by regulators, Bank of Italy’s Governor Ignazio Visco said on Monday.

Italy’s fragmented banking industry is seen heading towards a new round of consolidation next year as banks struggle to shoulder soaring compliance and technology costs, and as they face rising competition from non-banking rivals.

“More adequate corporate structures, higher levels of efficiency and productivity, the search for tie-ups and mergers... are essential to generate adequate profits and reach required capital thresholds,” Visco said in a speech.

Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Valentina Za, editing by Steve Scherer

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