The Italian courts, as well as scholars and legal practitioners, have debated the concept of supervening usury for many years. Until recently, it was unclear whether interest stipulated below the usury threshold at the time of contract, but exceeding such threshold at the time of payment, was usurious. The Supreme Court finally addressed this issue in a recent decision, which ruled out supervening usury entirely.
Decree-Law 34 of 30 April 2019 introduced important amendments to the Italian securitisation framework. Securitisation special purpose vehicles can now play a more active role in the context of non-performing or unlikely-to-pay exposures. Further, a new breed of securitisation has been introduced, where the issuer's obligations are backed by real estate properties (or registered moveable assets) and related cash flows, as opposed to a portfolio of monetary claims.
The government recently extended the duration of the guarantee on the securitisation of non-performing loans, subject to European Commission clearance. The extension represents a welcome measure to strengthen the stability of the Italian banking system and support, without interruption, the process of reducing the stock of non-performing loans and developing a secondary market for them.
Parliament recently approved Law 145/2018 within the context of the Budget Law 2019 and introduced some notable changes to the Italian securitisation framework. Among other things, Law 145/2018 allows the securitisation of proceeds that arise from the ownership of real estate or registered movable assets, as well as other ancillary rights. The amendments are effective as of 1 January 2019 and aim to further develop Italy's securitisation market by offering new tools and refining existing ones.
New business opportunities have emerged following recent changes to the Securitisation Law. Until recently, securitisation special purpose vehicles (SPVs) were prohibited from playing an active role in the management of distressed debts which they purchased in the context of a securitisation transaction. The new rules offer securitisation SPVs a wider set of tools and foster the growth of the market for non-performing loans across various asset classes.