“Festina lente” in NPL management in Italy

“Festina lente”, (“make haste slowly”) was one of the favourite sayings of the Roman emperor Augustus related to military operations1. It could also be useful in the management of Non-Performing Loans. The International Monetary Fund says, in Italy: “NPL reduction strategies and targets need to be ambitious and credible, aided by supervisory assessments of banks’ capacity to resolve NPLs in a realistic and timely manner2”. “Timely”, that is, “quickly”. Usually, a quick solution for managing NPLs is their sale. One of the main problems is the “fair” transfer price. In Italy, buyers would like to pay less than 10% of the nominal value, a very low price, because the legal recovery proceedings last no less than four or five years, during which servicers must support management costs and pay interests on funding raised for the business. For sellers, this low prize would result in a strong \ capital loss.