Italy's premier says the country's banking system is solid, with no risk of collapse, despite the government's move last month to rescue four small banks.

Matteo Renzi told a year-end news conference Tuesday that "there is no systemic risk and Italian banks are much more solid" than many European banks. He added, "I wouldn't change the banking system with Germany's, not even for payment."

Still, he said Italy has too many small banks, and that action is needed to consolidate the plethora of mutual banks.

The government's rescue of the four small banks in central Italy has been criticized for exposing some bondholders to losses. Renzi repeated his pledge that the government would help recover losses for anyone who was tricked into high-risk investments.