MILAN (Reuters) - Monte dei Paschi <BMPS.MI> is close to finalizing a consortium of eight banks to guarantee a 5 billion euro ($5.55 billion) cash call the lender plans to carry out to strengthen its balance sheet, a source close to the matter said.

Beyond global coordinators JP Morgan <JPM.N> and Mediobanca <MDBI.MI>, the consortium is expected to include Goldman Sachs <GS.N>, Santander <SAN.MC>, Citi <C.N>, Credit Suisse <CSGN.S>, Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> and BOFA Merrill Lynch <BAC.N>.

The source said the banks had given a preliminary nod to underwriting the cash call but each would need to take a formal decision to meet internal procedures.

Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Citi declined to comment, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Santander were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Paola Arosio, writing by Agnieszka Flak, additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Angus Berwick, Valentina Za; editing by Emilio Parodi)