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Bank of Italy Said to Study Loan Books of Nation’s Biggest Banks

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s central bank, which started examining the assets of the country’s top 20 lenders last year, is reviewing the loan books of UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The central bank started the review of Italy’s two biggest banks between July and September, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the inspections aren’t public. The analysis, focusing on non-performing loans, is part of inspections started in 2012 to assess lenders’ asset quality and provisions before a European Central Bank review, the people said.

The Italian central bank has said lenders must boost capital by selling non-strategic assets and curbing operating costs, dividends and executive pay. In the fourth quarter, the banking regulator forced them to set aside additional provisions after coverage ratios declined compared to previous years.

Officials at the Bank of Italy, UniCredit and Intesa declined to comment. The inspection was reported earlier today by Reuters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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