Italian banks aren’t safe investments these days. But they are getting safer in at least one way.
In 2007, half of Europe’s bank robberies happened in Italy. In 2009, the country still accounted for 42% of the continent’s bank thefts. And in 2010, the country still reigned as the capital of bank heists. Yet last year, amid the worst of the European financial crisis and an historically tough year for Italy’s banking sector, robberies didn’t merely fall in the country—they plunged.
Italian news site The Local suggested that cash-strapped Italians may simply be aware that banks are cash-strapped themselves, citing Standards and Poor’s report that Italy’s banks cut €44 billion ($57.59 billion) in credit to Italian firms last year. But that’s mere speculation. The $900 million-plus a year banks pay for antitheft equipment might be a more promising place to look for answers.