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Best of SNL

S&PGlobal Market Intelligence's most read financial stories in the Asia-Pacificregion feature efforts to improve financialinfrastructure by using blockchain, while editors' picks include a story on an alarmingtrend of increasing bad debt at major Chinese banks.

Mostread

1. Bankssecure blockchain as attempted $1B heist flags cyber dangers

An attempted billion-dollar cyberheist has drawn freshattention to the frailties of a financial infrastructure banks and exchangeshope to overhaul using the technology at the heart of bitcoin. But developersface a challenge not only in ensuring that blockchain-powered markets will besafe from external threats but also from spying among competitors.

2. KoreanRe CEO keeps eyes on global expansion, unfazed by industry downturn
Korean Reinsurance Co.CEO Won Jong-gyu is unfazed by the global market downturn as he pushes aheadwith plans to put the company on the international map. Overseas expansion iscrucial for the sole South Korean reinsurer, better known as Korean Re, becauseits saturated domestic market is becoming more competitive.

3. 7global banks paying $324M to settle suit over interest rate benchmarkmanipulation

Seven global banks agreed to pay a total of US$324million after a reaching a settlement in a private U.S. lawsuit that allegedthey manipulated interest rate benchmark ISDAfix from 2009 to 2012. The banksinclude Bank of America Corp.,Citigroup Inc. andRoyal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.Nomura Holdings Inc.,along with seven other firms, remains a defendant in the case.

4. AIGsells stake in PICC Property & Casualty

AmericanInternational Group Inc. sold 740 million of its shares inPeople's Insurance Co. (Group) ofChina Ltd. subsidiary PICCProperty & Casualty Co. Ltd. at HK$13.08 per share for a totalof US$1.25 billion. The shares were sold at a 7.9% discount on the stock'sApril 29 closing price.

5. ANZfiscal H1 cash profit falls 24% YOY

Australia& New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. posted a 24% year-over-yeardecline in cash profit for the fiscal first half ended March 31, partly due torestructuring expenses and the divestment of Esanda Dealer Finance. The bank'sfiscal first-half cash profit declined to A$2.78 billion from A$3.68 billionfor the prior-year half.

Editors'picks

1. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: Bad debt clouds outlook for top Chinese banks as 1stannual profit decline in years looms

First-quarter earnings at the four largest banks inChina show an alarming trend of growing bad debt is probably here to stay,heightening the possibility that they are headed to their first annual profitdecline in years in 2016. Nonperforming loan ratios at ,the largest Chinese bank by assets, and China Construction Bank Corp. rose at the end of March fromthree months earlier, when they were at multiyear highs, according to data fromSNL Financial, an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

2. Bankingon Asia: Japanese banks face deteriorating outlook on many fronts

Negative interest rates, coupled with rising creditcosts, could hit Japanese bank earnings hard. With the Bank of Japan's adoptionof a negative interest rate policy, banks in the country are basically beingcharged to park their excess deposits. Given that Japanese lenders areincredibly liquid, the charges can be significant, according to industryveteran Daniel Tabbush.

3. DBSGroup's Q1 earnings gets lift from Manulife bancassurance deal

After coming into effect in 2016, 'sbancassurance deal with ManulifeFinancial Corp. may prove to be a long-term contributor to theSingaporean banking group's income, based on the lender's results for the firstquarter. In the first quarter, DBS Group garnered an extra S$13 million throughinsurance product sales under the bancassurance agreement, on top of Manulife'spayment of S$27 million, granting the group a total of S$40 million in earningsthat flowed through to its wealth management ledger.

4. StanChartfinancial market head for Greater China, North Asia leaves amid job cuts

StandardChartered Plc's head of financial markets for Greater China andNorth Asia has left the company, marking the latest executive departure at thestruggling lender amid groupwide job cuts as part of a cost-cutting campaign.Gene Kim, who had held the Hong Kong-based role since February 2011, is nolonger with the firm. A spokeswoman at StandardChartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd. confirmed the departure, butdeclined to give a reason for it.

5. E-bankingin India catches on as payment channels emerge

The emergence of an electronic payment backbone inIndia has spurred a rise in electronic transactions, as well as offerings tofacilitate such transactions, amid government efforts to bring banking tounderserved segments in the country. In India, the volume of electronicpayments climbed 27.1% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015, while the valueof such payments grew 5.4%, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India'sannual report.