After repeated efforts to salvage Italy’s most troubled banks, the country’s government is leaning on an unlikely would-be savior: James Dimon.
The J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chairman and chief executive is an Italophile, his bank has long had a presence in Italy and it has built close ties to the government. It also offers what few European banks can: a vast balance sheet to back a cleanup operation.
Resuscitating Italy’s banks is a daunting task laden with risk, and it is among the central challenges of European finance. The Italian banking system is burdened by hundreds of billions of euros of bad loans, and many of its smaller banks are on their knees. Postcrisis rules curtail the Italian government’s ability to ride to the rescue with bailouts, leaving the job to the private sector.
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