Banco Ambrosiano Veneto (BAV), which was formed in 1989 through the merger of Nuovo Banco Ambrosiano with Banca Cattolica del Veneto, two banks well-rooted in the territory with more than one hundred years of history and activity behind them, soon distinguished itself in Italy for its dynamism, competence and capability of aggregating other local entities. In the period 1991-1995 BAV acquired control of certain banks, such as Banca Vallone di Galatina, Citibank Italia (later named Banco Ambroveneto Sud), Società di Banche Siciliane, Banca Massicana di Sessa Aurunca and Banca di Trento e Bolzano, which in a short time enabled it to project the experience originally gained in the Northern regions, mostly Lombardia and Triveneto, on the whole of the Italian territory. At the same time the Bank strengthened its position on world financial markets with the purchase of Caboto, destined to become one of the major European investment banks.
The need to augment its size, which was increasingly perceived by the Italian and international banking system, later forced BAV to seek a qualified partner to reach the critical mass which would enable it to play a forefront role in all markets. Pursuing that objective, in 1997 BAV realised an alliance with Cariplo, the largest saving bank in the world, with which it formed Banca Intesa in 1998.