NEW YORK, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Standard & Poor's today assigned its
single-'A' long-term and 'A-1' short-term counterparty ratings to Credito
Bergamasco (Creberg).  The outlook is stable. 
The ratings reflect the bank's healthy profitability, stable funding base,
sound credit-risk management, and strong capitalization.  It also reflects its
membership of the Banca Popolare di Verona - Banco S. Geminiano e S. Prospero
SCRL group (BPV-BSGSP, rated 'A/Stable/A-1'), which acquired a controlling
stake in Creberg's capital from French bank Credit Lyonnais in 1997.
Creberg's acquisition fits in well with BPV-BSGSP's strategy of expanding into
areas neighboring its home base in northeastern Italy. 
Standard & Poor's believes that Creberg will benefit from its integration
into its new parent group because of economies of scale following the merger
of information systems and asset management activities, and because of the
widening of its product range, notably the distribution of insurance products
developed by Societa Cattolica di Assicurazione, its second-largest
shareholder with 11.44% of capital. 
With Italian lira (ITL) 12.7 trillion (US$7.2 billion at ITL1,760 to US$1)
in total assets at year-end 1997, Creberg is a second-tier bank in Italy.  The
bank has, however, a strong franchise in its home base, the province of
Bergamo, where it has a market share of 13.9% of loans and 13% of deposits.
Creberg's core business is banking services for small and midsize businesses
and individuals. 
The bank is firmly customer focused. Its deep knowledge of its local
market combined with effective risk management has enabled Creberg to
stabilize its asset-quality ratios at levels that are well above the Italian
system average and in line with those of the best regional banks in the
country.  Its return on adjusted equity has exceeded 11% since 1996, a good
performance by domestic standards, particularly when its strong capitalization
is taken into account. 
Outlook: Stable 
The outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectation that Creberg will
maintain its strong financial profile and develop successful synergies with
its parent bank. 
The outlook also reflects Standard & Poor's belief that BPV-BSGSP will
maintain sound fundamentals and remain conservative in its development
strategy. -- CreditWire 

    Credito Bergamasco
    Counterparty credit rating    A/Stable/A-1
    CD   A/A-1

SOURCE  Standard & Poor's 
-0-                             10/19/98 
/CONTACT:  Yves Burger, 33-1-4420-6691, or Christian Frigerio, 33-1-4420-6687, both of Standard & Poor's, Paris/ 
/Web site:
CO:  Credito Bergamasco
ST:  New York
-0- Oct/19/1998   17:19
EOS   (PRN)    Oct/19/98    17:19      **
-0- (PRN) Oct/19/1998   17:34
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