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Italian Bank Association Heads Offer to Resign Over Rules

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March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Italian Banking Association’s Chairman Giuseppe Mussari and seven other executives offered to resign in protest over new banking-fee rules included in the government’s legislation on boosting competition.

The eight members of the presidential committee of the association known as ABI tendered their resignations to the board after the Senate Industry Committee approved new rules on commissions received by banks, Mussari said today. The offer to step down will be reviewed in the coming days by ABI’s board and executive committee, which can reject it.

“The committee resigned because of the rules that eliminate all banking commissions on credit,” Mussari told reporters in Rome. “New rules seriously damage the banking industry and, even more, all other companies,” he said.

The rules would eliminate commissions paid to banks on all credit they allocate, according to Italian media including MF newspaper. The legislation, part of Prime Minister Mario Monti’s drive to overhaul the economy, is being put to a confidence vote in the Senate in Rome today.

“Banks risk losing a significant part of revenue coming from their commitment fees, which were introduced to replace canceled overdraft fees,” Luca Comi, an analyst at Centrosim, wrote in a note yesterday. “The decision penalizes the sector.”

Mussari said the measures are “unfair” and should only be applied to banks that violate rules on transparency. If the norms are approved, banks will be forced to “revise the entire credit system,” said Mussari, who is also chairman of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy’s third-largest bank.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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