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Bank of Italy chief sees more room for banking mergers

Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi said there is more room for banking mergers in the country and that he favors alliances between European stock exchanges. „It's a good idea for the process of consolidation in the banking sector to start up again,” Draghi said in a speech at a banking association meeting in Rome today. „There is still ample room for mergers where the synergies overtake the complexities.” Draghi is ushering in an anti-protectionist, free-market era at the Bank of Italy after replacing Antonio Fazio, who quit in December amid two criminal probes into his efforts to block foreign bids for Italian banks. Draghi, a former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has the power to approve or block mergers involving Italian banks. The governor also said he favors efforts to link European stock exchanges. Borsa Italiana SpA, the Italian exchange, is considering possible alliances with Euronext NV and Deutsche Boerse AG. Euronext last month agreed to an € 8.1 billion ($10.3 billion) takeover offer from NYSE Group Inc., thwarting a bid from Deutsche Boerse. „Mergers between European stock exchanges are key to the integration of the markets,” Draghi said. (Bloomberg)