Banks in Italy are appealing to the patriotism of ordinary Italians to help the country out of its debt crisis.
The Italian Banking Association is pushing a special ‘bond-day’ so local investors can buy government securities without paying any fees.
With many big institutional investors dumping their Italian holdings at least one newspaper has already carried a full-page advert exhorting citizens to show foreigners that Italians still believe in the country.
According to the Bank of Italy the majority of Italian bonds are held by lenders within the country itself. Bank data also show that 14 per cent of the total government debt – more than 220-billion euros-worth – is held by rank-and-file investors.
“You can see the crisis everywhere,” said Marco Massoni out shopping in Rome. “Not only in Italy but internationally. But Italy is a country with enough resources to make it through. We just need a little bit more courage.”
Fears about Italy’s ability to repay its debt have forced bond-yields to rocket. Households are an important proposition because they tend to keep the debt until the bonds mature.