The Post Office was first created as a state monopoly service at the time of the Sardinia realm in North-Western Italy and became Italy’s Post Office (Poste Italiane) when the Savoia dynasty unified the country in 1861. In 1889 was created the Ministry of Post and Telegraph with the mission of supervising and funding the postal service. More than one century past, the Post Office was enfranchised from its status of government branch and became a separate company, even if still fully owned by the government (65% by the Treasury and the remaining 35% by the Treasury financial arm Cassa Depositi e Prestiti). Nowadays, with more than 14,000 outlets servicing 32 million clients and 150,000 employees, Poste Italiane is the first company of the country as for workforce.
In recent years the top executives who succeeded at Poste, first Corrado Passera and then Massimo Sarmi who is currently in charge as CEO, created a banking branch of Poste branded BancoPosta which helped to turn the business of Poste into a profitable one. The banking branch of Poste boasts almost 6 million clients and went well beyond the traditional postal saving account service as it offers a wide range of financial services, including personal and mortgage loans. More recently it went as far as offering door-to-door financial products and even gold-based financial instruments. BancoPosta does not own a full banking license though. That’s why the Antitrust authority is seeking that BancoPosta to be split from the traditional business in order to avoid it being indirectly subsidized (the government pays an indemnity to the Post Office for the delivery all over the country. It was also asked that the Post’s banking system be subject to the same regulations and supervisory provisions of regular banks and to integrate its payment system into the banking circuit. As partial answer to those requests, in 2011 the CEO Sarmi endowed to BancoPosta a separate funding of one billion euros and created a special inter-functional committee which gathers every month under his chairmanship to discuss the handling of the banking business.Poste Italiane