Draghi Says Italy Bank Fund Is `Small Step' in Right Direction

  • ECB has not `examined completely' rescue fund's details
  • Atlante got market-regulator nod, topped EU4 billion fund goal

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that Italy’s bank-rescue fund orchestrated by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government is “a small step in the right direction.”

“I can say it’s a step, it’s small step in the right direction,” Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt on Thursday when asked to comment on the creation of the Atlante fund. “We haven’t yet examined completely the details of this.”

Earlier in the day, the fund manager Quaestio Capital Management SpA said it received market-regulator approval and has exceeded its goal of raising 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion). Atlante was created in a bid to stabilize Italy’s financial system by helping to reduce lenders’ non-performing loans and backing capital increases of banks in need of support.

The fund is preparing to back the share-sale of Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA, the Italian lender that is currently seeking investors for an initial public offering aimed at ensuring its survival.

Atlante’s “operation is currently being reviewed by the ECB,” Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said in a parliamentary hearing at Italian Senate on Tuesday.

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