* Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said the German central bank would prefer using the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund to combat the coronavirus-driven economic turmoil instead of mutualizing the eurozone's debt by issuing a joint "coronabond," Reuters wrote, citing Weidmann's comments to German newspaper Die Zeit.
* Meanwhile, the Netherlands proposed the creation of a healthcare emergency fund to which the country will make a "very substantial contribution," Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, Reuters reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority outlined temporary measures to support individuals facing financial difficulty amid the pandemic, including three-month payment freezes on their loans and credit card debt. Banks were also told to cut interest rates on arranged overdrafts of up to £500 to zero, for up to three months.
* Pressure from the Bank of England for HSBC Holdings PLC to withhold its 2019 dividends did not sit well with some of the bank's board members and executives, prompting them to reignite a debate over whether the group's legal base should move to Hong Kong from London, sources told the Financial Times. An HSBC spokesperson said there are neither discussions nor plans to reopen the issue.
* British insurer M&G PLC has canceled plans to layoff 10% of its workforce this year in light of uncertainties caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters wrote, citing a staff memo.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Germany will guarantee up to €30 billion for the country's commercial credit insurance industry to help keep trade flowing amid the outbreak, sources told Reuters. Credit insurers will, in turn, maintain or even extend their coverage and pay two-thirds of their total premiums to the government this year.
* Deutsche Bank AG is considering scrapping its top management's bonuses for this year following calls by regulators to preserve capital and keep lending throughout the coronavirus outbreak, a source told Reuters.
* Austria is in talks with banks to introduce a debt moratorium for consumers, but it is yet unclear if the debt freeze would be voluntary or statutory, Reuters wrote, citing Finance Minister Gernot Blümel.
* Erste Group Bank AG suspended its 2020 guidance, citing the significant deterioration of the economic outlook amid the pandemic.
* Swiss Re AG's share price dipped in the wake of the revised profit forecast by German peer Munich Re Co. on Tuesday. By contrast, the Swiss insurer has remained vague on the subject of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, aside from saying that the effects of the crisis were "absolutely acceptable." Its share price fell by 5% yesterday, finews.ch wrote.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* French bank BNP Paribas SA plans to take €1.9 billion in dividends from its Belgian subsidiary BNP Paribas Fortis SA, De Standaard reported. But Belgian Finance Minister Alexander De Croo repeated calls for banks to suspend dividend payments amid the crisis. The unit will likely make a decision about the dividend this week, De Tijd wrote.
* Société Générale SA has pledged to guarantee the salaries of its roughly 140,000 global staff for the duration of the pandemic and said it is opting not to use France's partial unemployment scheme or measures deferring social and tax charges to avoid being a "burden" on the country's budget.
* Meanwhile, Crédit Agricole SA has joined the list of banks canceling dividend distributions, saying it will instead propose to allocate its entire 2019 profit to its account reserves.
* Bpifrance SA, in charge of registering state-guaranteed bank loans for businesses, said the scheme has "taken off like a rocket," with 35,000 agreements worth €6 billion registered by Wednesday morning, Les Echos reported.
* Payments processor Ebury Partners UK Ltd. has picked Brussels to house its European headquarters, De Tijd wrote. The move will add ten additional jobs this year.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Bolsas y Mercados Españoles said its board has approved the roughly €2.84 billion takeover offer by Switzerland's SIX Group AG.
* Ibercaja Banco SA can now delay its IPO by up to two years after Spain passed a law introducing emergency measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak in the country, one of which is to allow foundations which hold a majority stake in savings banks a further two years to sell off their holdings.
* The current pandemic has jeopardized Millennium BCP's plans to pay bonuses to its senior executives this year, Jornal de Negócios reported. The Portuguese lender resumed bonuses last year for the first time since the financial crisis.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said the government is preparing a proposal for the issuance of common debt instruments at the EU level to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, Reuters wrote. The government also plans to introduce a second emergency decree that, on top of measures announced last month, will provide "well over €500 billion" in liquidity and bank loans, he added.
* UniCredit SpA is nearing an agreement with unions over its plan to cut up to 6,000 staff in its home market, insiders told Reuters. A deal will likely entail 5,200 voluntary layoffs, mostly through early retirements, and roughly 2,600 new hirings.
* BPER Banca SpA has also abstained from distributing dividends and will propose to earmark its entire 2019 profit to its reserves.
* Small and medium-sized banks in Denmark could run into difficulties during the coronavirus crisis, according to central bank Governor Lars Rohde. Meanwhile, the regulator is not concerned about Denmark's large banks, which are "generally in a good capital position," he added.
* Ekspres Bank A/S, a unit of BNP Paribas, named Annika Olsson its CEO, according to Realtid.
* Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB CEO Johan Torgeby said the Swedish bank has processed credit requests amounting to roughly 120 billion kronor last month, double the volume that it typically does during a full year.
* The Russian central bank scrapped plans to tighten mortgage supervision rules from July due to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, citing market sources. The finance ministry also asked the central bank to soften capital requirements for systemically important banks to help them cope with the economic consequences of the epidemic.
* The quality of loans granted to Russian small and medium-sized businesses will deteriorate in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak despite measures implemented by Russian authorities, with nonperforming loans in the segment expected to grow by 6 percentage points to around 18%, Kommersant and RBC reported, citing Russian rating agency Expert RA. Russian banks are also expected to significantly limit lending to small businesses in the next three months.
* Getin Holding SA said that lenders constituting part of its group have maintained liquidity amid the epidemic but warned that the planned sale of its Ukrainian assets, including JSC Idea Bank, could fall through due to the current economic situation, PAP wrote, citing Getin Holding CEO Piotr Kaczmarek.
* The Czech government approved the finance ministry's proposal to defer repayments on existing loans for coronavirus outbreak-affected retail and corporate borrowers by up to six months, according to E15. Meanwhile, the central bank eased lending limits for new mortgage loans.
* The Hungarian central bank introduced a new one-week deposit facility for banks at a fixed rate of 0.9%, with the move described by analysts as an "implicit rate hike" helping to curb the recent weakening of the forint, Reuters wrote.
* Albania-based Banka Credins sh.a. agreed to acquire a 5% stake in securities settlement system operator ALREG, increasing its holding in the company to 52.5%, SEENews reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Westpac names CEO; NZ banks agree to not pay dividends on ordinary shares
Middle East & Africa: ADCB faces exposure problems; Nigerian banks at 'severe risk' amid pandemic
Latin America: Brazil's Bovespa takes beating; Chile central bank cuts key rate anew
North America: JPMorgan responds to racism claims; small-business loan program to benefit banks
Global Insurance: Genworth/Oceanwide extension; Munich Re nixes guidance; sector outlook changes
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
UK regulator's dividend move set to boost banks' key capital ratios: The regulator has also made it plain that it wants to see banks take action on bonuses, as shares dip following curbs on dividends and share buybacks.
Deza Mones, Daniel Stephens, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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