EU court says Italy reform of mutual banks was lawful

The European Union's top court said on Thursday the overhaul of mutual banks adopted in Italy in 2015 was in line with EU rules, partly dismissing an appeal filed by consumer organisations.

BRUSSELS, July 16 (Reuters) - The European Union's top court said on Thursday the overhaul of mutual banks adopted in Italy in 2015 was in line with EU rules, partly dismissing an appeal filed by consumer organisations.

The court said the reform was lawful but ordered national judges to assess whether some provisions were proportionate.

The reform was adopted by the government of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and obliges large Italian mutual lenders to become joint-stock companies, in an effort to improve governance and boost their appeal for potential investors.

Of the 10 largest 'popolari' banks targeted by the reform, all have already complied with the terms of the overhaul, except Banca Popolare di Sondrio BPSI.MI.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Edmund Blair)

((Francesco.Guarascio@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 68 17;))

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