The headquarters of UniCredit bank in Milan

There are three main types of credit institutions and banks in Italy. Commercial banks, which include three national banks, chartered banks, cooperative banks, and private banks across the country, are the most common.

However, savings banks organized on a provincial or regional basis in addition to investment institutions that issue bonds and provide medium- and long-term credit for public works and agriculture provide additional financial services.[1]

Unicredit is one of the largest banks in Europe by capitalization and Assicurazioni Generali is the seventh largest bank in the world by total assets.


Arch of the Argentarii in Rome[2][3][4]

The Etruscans and the early Romans did not have true minted coinage for many centuries. Debt and debt bondage, however, were probably rife. Wealthy landowners would make an "advance loan" of seed, foodstuffs or other essentials to tenants, clients and smallholders, in return for a promise of labour services or a substantial share of the crop. The terms of such "loans" compelled defaulters to sell themselves, or their dependants, to their creditor; or, if smallholders, to surrender their farm. Wealthy aristocratic Etruscan and Roman landholders thus acquired additional farms and service for very little outlay.[5] It has been argued that this loan system can be considered an embryonic version of banking as practiced in antiquity.

With the eventual expansion of Roman monetization, a variety of officials came to be associated with banking in ancient Rome. These were the argentarii, mensarii, coactores, and nummulari; many of these roles were derived from Etruscan practices. The argentarii were money changers. The role of the mensarii was to help people through economic hardships, the coactores were hired to collect money and give it to their employer, and the nummulari minted and tested currency. They offered credit systems and loans. Between 260 and the fourth century CE Roman bankers disappear from the historical record, likely because of economic difficulties caused by the debasement of the currency.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472, is the world's oldest or second oldest bank in continuous operation.

The origins of modern banking can be traced to the medieval and early Italian Renaissance, to the rich cities in the north like Florence, Lucca, Siena, Venice, and Genoa. The Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th-century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe.[6]

One of the most famous Italian banks was the Medici Bank, set up by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici in 1397.[7] The earliest known state deposit bank, Banco di San Giorgio (Bank of St. George), was founded in 1407 in Genoa, Italy,[8] while Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472, is the oldest surviving bank in the world.

In 1893, following the Banca Romana scandal, the Italian government formed the Bank of Italy, the nation's first central bank, as part of massive reforms to the banking sector.[9]

List of banks by total assets

Main article: List of banks in Italy

The headquarters of Intesa Sanpaolo bank in Turin

Italy had 11 banking groups (excluding banking group that owned by foreign banks) that were supervised by the European Central Bank directly. According to Mediobanca, the overall number of banks and credits institutions in Italy stands at 439 in 2022, which is a sharp decrease from the 740 that were operating in 2011.[10]

However, ECB considered ICCREA Banca, the clearing house of Italian cooperative banks federation as one banking group, which the publication of Mediobanca considered the cooperative banks are individual entities, such as Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Roma was ranked 22nd in the publication, while ICCREA Banca and Bank of Italy were excluded from the publication.

The following is a list of the main Italian banks ranked by total assets and gross premiums written.

As of December 2022[10]
Rank (by Mediobanca) Company Total Assets (billion €) RWAs (thousands €) Type
Steady 1 Intesa Sanpaolo Increase 975.68 domestic systemically important bank;[11] supervised by European Central Bank[12]
Steady 2 UniCredit Increase 857.77 global systemically important bank (Bucket 1) identified by Financial Stability Board;[13] supervised by European Central Bank[12]
* Bank of Italy central bank
Steady 3 Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Increase 400.69 national investment bank, majority owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance
* BancoPosta division of Poste italiane joint-control by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Ministry of Economy and Finance
* Istituto per il Credito Sportivo a subsidiary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance
Steady 4 Banco BPM Increase 189.69 domestic systemically important bank;[11] supervised by European Central Bank[12]
Increase 5 BPER Banca Increase 152.3 supervised by European Central Bank[12]
Steady 6 Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena Increase 120.24 domestic systemically important bank;[11] supervised by European Central Bank,[12] minority owned by Ministry of Economy and Finance (legacy of the 2017 bailout)
Steady 7 Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Increase 104.09 subsidiary of BNP Paribas
Decrease 8 Mediobanca Increase 93.74 supervised by European Central Bank[12]
Steady 9 Crédit Agricole Italia Decrease 58.42 subsidiary of Crédit Agricole
10 Banca Mediolanum Increase 73.6 Also an leading insurance company, supervised by European Central Bank
11 Credito Emiliano Increase 65.04 supervised by European Central Bank[12]
12 Banca Popolare di Sondrio Increase 53.30 supervised by European Central Bank[12]
* ICCREA Banca Decrease 38.12 [14]: 375  Steady 12,834,414[14]: 30  clearing house owned by 300+ regional banks, supervised by European Central Bank[12]
13 Deutsche Bank (Italy) Steady 023.93 subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG
14 Banco di Desio e della Brianza Increase 013.98
15 Banca Sella Group Increase 013.97
16 Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Roma Increase 011.59 Will be part of ICCREA Banca Group as shareholder
17 Cassa di Risparmio di Asti Decrease 011.51
Note: Banks with assets less than €10 billion were omitted from this wiki list. Barclays Bank, Italian branch was also excluded

See also


  1. ^ "Overview of Banks in Italy". Corporate Finance Institute.
  2. ^ Fischer, Julia C. (26 July 2019). Art in Rome: From Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 98–100. ISBN 978-1-5275-3752-1. Archived from the original on 2022-09-12. Retrieved 2022-08-05.
  3. ^ Aicher, Peter J. (2004). Rome Alive: A Source-Guide to the Ancient City Volume II (in Latin). Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-86516-507-6. Archived from the original on 2022-09-12. Retrieved 2022-08-05.
  4. ^ Elsner, Jaś (2005). "Sacrifice and narrative on the Arch of the Argentarii at Rome". Journal of Roman Archaeology. 18: 83–98. doi:10.1017/S1047759400007224. S2CID 188993120.
  5. ^ See discussion in Cornell, pp. 281–283
  6. ^ Hoggson, N. F. (1926) Banking Through the Ages, New York, Dodd, Mead & Company.
  7. ^ Goldthwaite, R. A. (1995) Banks, Places and Entrepreneurs in Renaissance Florence, Aldershot, Hampshire, Great Britain, Variorum
  8. ^ Macesich, George (30 June 2000). "Central Banking: The Early Years: Other Early Banks". Issues in Money and Banking. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers (Greenwood Publishing Group). p. 42. ISBN 978-0-275-96777-2. Retrieved 2009-03-12. The first state deposit bank was the Bank of St. George in Genoa, which was established in 1407.
  9. ^ Gigliobianco, Alfredo; Giordano, Claire. "No. 5 - Economic Theory and Banking Regulation: The Italian Case (1861-1930s)". Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Largest Italian banks in 2020, by total assets". September 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  11. ^ a b c "Identification of the UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Banco BPM and Monte dei Paschi di Siena banking groups" (Press release). Bank of Italy. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "List of supervised entities" (PDF). European Central Bank. 1 January 2023. pp. 12–. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  13. ^ "2017 list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs)" (Press release). Financial Stability Board. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b 2018 Bilancio Consolidato [2018 Consolidated financial report] (PDF) (in Italian). ICCREA Banca. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.