The Italian Almanac


Italian News - June 14

UniCredit has become a top player in European banking with the takeover of HypoVereinsbank of Germany, a merger that could herald a new era for Italy's still closed banking sector and bring a breath of fresh air to its lagging economy. The group, led by Alessandro Profumo, becomes the fourth-biggest bank in the eurozone, a huge step for Italy. Until now, none of its banks has figured in Europe's top 20.

Keeping the name UniCredit, the new bank will operate in 19 countries and become the largest in eastern and central Europe -- twice the size of the region's No. 2 bank, Austria's Herste Bank. It will employ 126,000 people, serving 28 million clients in more than 7,000 agencies. "Our objective is to become an excellent bank for the quality of its services in all of the 19 markets. If we succeed in doing this, we shall prove that Europe is a success at least for banking clients," Profumo said.