Overview of Banks in Italy
The Bank of Italy, which is a public-law institution under the regulation of European and national legislation, supervises financial institutions and banks in Italy. The Italian central bank is an important member of the Eurosystem, which comprises the European Central Bank and national central banks in the eurozone. There are three main types of credit institutions and banks in Italy, including:
- Commercial banks – Three national banks, chartered banks, cooperative banks, and private banks
- Savings banks organized on a provincial or regional basis
- Investment institutions – Issue bonds and provide medium- and long-term credit for public works and agriculture
In March of 2021, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its negative outlook to stable on the Italian banking system, saying the economy would start growing again this year after the strong contraction due to COVID-19 last year. The ratings agency said the Italian banking sector would benefit from lower International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) provisions on losses on loans with respect to last year, although adjustments would remain high.
It said problematic loans would rise, especially after COVID moratoria ends. However, continued government support in the form of guaranteed loans, together with the continuation of the shedding of non-performing loans (NPLs), will partially compensate for the deterioration of the quality of assets.
For anyone considering a career in banking in Italy, this list of top banks in Italy is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our list of financial institutions.
The Top Banks in Italy:
Founded in 1870, Unicredit SpA is the product of a merger of banks in Italy. The Italian global banking and financial services company oversees an extensive network covering 50 markets in 18 countries, with headquarters in Milan.
With over 8,500 branches, Unicredit provides banking products such as retail and private banking, corporate and investment banking, finance leasing, factoring, and insurance through a joint venture. It also owns one of the highest market shares in the region due to its strategic position in Western and Eastern Europe.
Net income: EUR -2.79 billion (2020)
Total assets: EUR 942.17 billion (3/2021)
Intesa Sanpaolo is the outcome of the merger between Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI in 2007. The Italian banking group provides investment banking, investment management, private banking, public finance, and retail banking products and services.
The bank’s headquarters is in Torre Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin, serving customers through 4,825 domestic branches and 1,143 branches overseas. In 2007, it listed 13 million customers and assets worth $690 billion, overtaking Unicredit Group as the largest of the banks in Italy. In 2010, Intesa Sanpaolo was ranked 26th in the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Net income: EUR 3.28 billion (2020)
Total assets: EUR 1.00 trillion (3/2021)
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti is Italy’s national investment bank and the third-largest bank in the country in terms of total assets. The bank was founded in Turin in 1850. It was restructured in 1863, moving its headquarters to Rome. The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance owns 83% of the bank’s share capital, while 16% is owned by banking institutions and the remaining 1% in treasury shares.
The bank is responsible for managing the Italian Postal savings, which serve as its first source of financial resources that are used by the Italian State or local governments for acquisitions, investments, and economic projects.
Net income: EUR 2.77 billion (2020)
Total assets: EUR 512.4 billion (2020)
Banco BPM S.p.A provides retail and corporate banking, asset management, and insurance services. It is the fourth-largest of the retail and commercial banks in Italy in terms of total assets.
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti owns more assets than Banco BPM but belongs to different lines of business. The bank was established in 2017 when Banco Popolare merged with Banca Popolare di Milano. It is headquartered in Verona and employs around 21,600 individuals.
Net income: EUR 20.8 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 197.2 billion (3/2020)
Banca Monte dei Paschi
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A., known as BMPS or MPS, was founded in 1472, making it the world’s oldest bank. It can also be viewed as the second oldest bank as it was established in its present form in 1624. It provides retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, insurance, and investment management services to 5.1 million customers through its 1,418 domestic branches, 2,647 ATM’s and 41 branches overseas as of 2021.
Banca Monte dei Paschi is the fifth-largest of commercial and retail banks in Italy in terms of assets. It is headquartered in Siena.
Net income: EUR -1.33 billion (2020)
Total assets: EUR 146.66 billion (3/2021)
In 2017, Italian banking group Unione di Banche Italiane S.p.A. – commonly known as UBI Banca – was the fifth-largest of the banks in Italy in terms of the number of branches. With headquarters in Bergamo, the group operates through 1,838 branches located in the richest areas, mainly in the northern part of Italy.
The bank was acquired by Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. on July 30, 2020.
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
This Italian bank was established in 1913 as Istituto Nazionale di Credito per la Cooperazione and became a state-owned firm in 1929. In 1998, it became a privately-held company again and listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2006, French banking group BNP Paribas purchased the bank. With headquarters in Rome, Banca Nazionale is the sixth-largest of the banks in Italy.
Formerly known as Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna S.C., BPER Banca provides retail and corporate banking, as well as insurance services to individuals, corporate, and public entities in 18 out of 20 regions in Italy.
Based in Modena, BPER Banca was founded in 1983 when Banca Popolare di Modena merged with Banca Cooperativa di Bologna. As of 2021, the bank employed 13,177 individuals and managed 1,820 national bank branches.
Net income: EUR 245.65 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 128.99 billion (3/2021)
International banking group Mediobanca offers investment, retail, and private banking, and investment management services. It is based in Milan, with offices in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid, Moscow, and New York.
The bank was established in 1946 to provide medium-term financing for manufacturers and link the banking sector with the investment needs of the reconstruction of the Italian industry after World War II.
Net income: EUR 600.4 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 83.77 billion (3/2021)
Crédit Agricole Italia
Gruppo Crédit Agricole Italia is an Italian banking group with headquarters in Parma. It provides retail and corporate banking services in more than 10 regions in Italy. It was founded in 1860 and was formerly known as Gruppo Cariparma Crédit Agricole.
The brand Crédit Agricole Italia was introduced in 2019 to avoid using the names of the three brands of the group: Cariparma and subsidiaries Carispezia and FriulAdria.
Net income: EUR -53.44 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 76.45 billion (2020)
Careers in Investment Banking
To break into investment banking, there are several important things to focus on. These include networking, resume, experience, and financial modeling skills. To learn more, explore our interactive career map: For banking careers, you will have a significant edge over the competition with our financial modeling courses.
This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in Italy. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources: