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INSIGHT-Blind faith turns to disbelief in Italian banking's heartland

VICENZA, Italy, April 26- Until very recently, Domenico Bertini, a machinery technician nearing retirement, viewed his local bank in the picturesque Vicenza region of northern Italy as family. The 150- year-old Banca Popolare di Vicenza was a world away from the faceless bankers of Wall Street who brought the global financial system close to collapse almost a...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 2-Italy's Vicenza aims low in IPO, punishing small investors

MILAN, April 19- Italy's Banca Popolare di Vicenza effectively wiped out the savings of thousands of its small shareholders on Tuesday when the struggling lender set a price range for its initial public offer which valued its stock at a fraction of what they paid. Shocked retail investors voiced anger and disbelief, accusing the bank's management and Prime...

Source: Reuters

Italy banks expect ECB to force pace of bad loan sales-sources

MILAN, April 5- Italian banks expect the European Central Bank to start setting deadlines for some lenders to sell off their bad loans as they come under increased pressure to improve asset quality, two senior banking sources said. Running at 360 billion euros after a three-year recession, problem loans account for 18 percent of Italy's bank loans against a euro...

Source: Reuters

Carige set to reject Apollo's bid after top investor picks board

GENOA, Italy, March 31- Banca Carige looked set to reject an offer by U.S. fund Apollo for a majority stake after the Italian bank's biggest investor said on Thursday the proposal does not reflect market values, according to his lawyer. New York- based Apollo Global Management has offered to buy Carige's 3.5 billion euro stock of bad loans and plug an ensuing capital...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Banco Popolare, BPM say merger to create "a solid bank"

*Banks outline deal to create Italy's third-biggest lender. MILAN, March 24- Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano outlined on Thursday their merger plan to create Italy's third biggest bank with a strong foothold in the country's wealthiest northern regions. The much anticipated deal, unveiled after months of negotiations, is contingent on Banco...

Source: Reuters

Banco Popolare, BPM say merger creates "a solid bank"

*Banks outline deal to create Italy's third-biggest lender. MILAN, March 24- Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano outlined on Thursday their merger plan, which creates Italy's third biggest bank with a stronghold in the country's wealthiest northern regions. The European Central Bank demanded the move to approve the tie-up.

Source: Reuters

Italy's bank troubles test ECB's mettle

MILAN, March 22- The European Central Bank is trying to strongarm Italian banks into cleaning up their balance sheets, a year and a half after they fared the worst of all euro zone lenders in its first stress tests as overarching supervisor. The standoff poses one of the biggest challenges to Europe's central bank since it became the euro zone single banking...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Italy's BPM and Popolare to decide next week on merger plan

*BPM, Banco trying to create Italy's No.3 bank. MILAN, March 18- Banca Popolare di Milano and Banco Popolare will decide by March 22 whether to go ahead with a planned merger, after the European Central Bank set out tough conditions for the tie-up. BPM and Banco Popolare have been discussing a deal to create Italy's third-largest lender for months.

Source: Reuters

ECB monitoring liquidity levels at some Italian banks-sources

MILAN/ ROME, March 7- The European Central Bank is checking liquidity levels at a number of Italian banks, including Banca Carige and Monte dei Paschi di Siena, on a daily basis, two sources close to the matter said on Monday. Italian banking shares have fallen sharply since the start of the year amid market concerns about some 360 billion euros of bad loans on their...

Source: Reuters

INSIGHT-Succession issue looms large at world's top glasses maker

*Founder Del Vecchio takes helm as executive chairman. But Leonardo Del Vecchio's return to the helm of Italy's Luxottica, owner of Ray Ban and Oakley sunglasses, at the age of 80 and insistence none of his six children should carry the burden of such a big firm beg the question of who might fit the bill. Positions are not being filled, two of the sources said,...

Source: Reuters