* Global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes amounted to $140 billion in 2019, compared to $176 billion a year earlier, according to Swiss Re Institute's preliminary sigma estimates. Global insured losses from natural and human-caused catastrophes also declined on a yearly basis to about $56 billion from $93 billion.
* The ECB, in theory, has enough room to cut interest rates deeper below zero before further reductions become counterproductive, according to a working paper by the central bank's top economists.
* The EU decided to extend economic sanctions against Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine by six months to July 31 due to the lack of full implementation of the Minsk peace agreements, Reuters reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* The Bank of England kept its key interest rates unchanged at 0.75% after a 7-2 split decision by its monetary policy committee.
* U.K. Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey was chosen to succeed Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England, the Financial Times reported. Chancellor Sajid Javid will reportedly confirm the appointment as early as today.
* The U.K. FCA is investigating the BoE's acknowledgement that a third-party supplier misused the audio feed of a number of bank press conferences before they had been officially broadcast, according to the FT. The central bank along with its U.S. counterpart are analyzing their broadcast feeds for potential deficiencies following the revelation.
* Lloyds Banking Group PLC will make a special payment of £35,000 to 191 individuals impacted by an alleged fraud at HBOS PLC's Reading branch, as the British lender seeks to build bridges following criticism of its compensation scheme, the FT reported.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Bayerische Landesbank AöR mapped out a new strategy under which it plans to cut at least 400 of its 7,700 employees over the next five years and more at a later point of time. The bank aims to reduce costs and increase its return on equity to 8% from the current 5%. BayernLB also seeks to double the number of clients of its Deutsche Kreditbank AG online banking unit to 8 million over the period and "significantly" wind down its capital market business.
* Deutsche Bank AG is eventually exiting New Zealand by selling its 49.9% stake in Auckland-based brokerage Craigs Investment Partners Ltd. to the latter's staff for an undisclosed figure, New Zealand Herald reported, noting that the German lender already closed down its business in New Zealand in 2015 but kept the Craigs stake to this day.
* Frankfurter Volksbank eG and Taunus Sparkasse entered a cooperation to open 26 jointly operated branches by the end of 2020, a first in the German banking industry, Handelsblatt wrote.
* Credit Suisse Group AG said it expects a pretax gain of at least CHF450 million in the fourth quarter from a revised accounting treatment of its stake in Swiss stock exchange SIX Group AG. The gain is expected to add roughly 10 basis points to the Swiss lender's 2019-end common equity Tier 1 ratio.
* David Miller, new head of Credit Suisse's investment banking and capital markets division, is reshuffling top management positions, Efinancialcareers wrote.
* Markus Blattmann, chief risk officer Asia at Julius Bär Gruppe AG, has been appointed risk chief of crypto bank SEBA Crypto AG, effective Feb. 1, 2020, finews.ch noted.
* Swiss asset managers Amadeus Capital SA and Nucleo Capital SA are merging to create financial services company with combined assets of CHF2 billion and will operate as Amadeus Capital SA.
* Sacha Ammann, most recently head of clients and markets at Bern-based DC Bank Deposito-Cassa der Stadt Bern, has been appointed CEO of the bank, effective July 1, 2020. He succeeds Peter Vonlanthen, who is retiring.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* French banking group BNP Paribas SA is seeking to relocate 75 commodity finance jobs to Geneva from Paris to consolidate its specialized trade solutions team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, insiders told Reuters.
* Dutch insurer Aegon NV entered into a long-term longevity reinsurance agreement with Canada Life Reinsurance Ltd. covering risks associated with €12 billion of liabilities in the Netherlands.
* ABN Amro Bank NV plans to cut an additional one in five jobs in Belgium following its takeover of the private banking unit of French lender Société Générale SA two years ago, De Tijd reported. Between 50 and 70 employees could be affected. Solange Rouschop, head of ABN Amro's private banking unit in Belgium, said there was "a lot of overlap" between the Dutch and French groups after the takeover.
* The takeover battle for Belgian lender Bank Nagelmackers NV has been narrowed down to three investment funds including U.S.-based Cerberus Capital Management and U.K.-based AnaCap Financial Partners, De Tijd reported. The Belgian lender was recently put up for sale by its Chinese owner, Anbang. The bank is estimated to be worth between €150 and €225 million.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA expects to make a negative adjustment of roughly $1.5 billion to the value of the goodwill in its U.S. unit, citing a slowdown in the country's economy and declining interest rates, particularly during the second half.
* Peio Belausteguigoitia was appointed new head of BBVA Spain, replacing Cristina de Parias, who leaves her executive duties but will join the board of BBVA's subsidiary in Mexico once necessary approvals have been obtained, Expansión wrote.
* Kutxabank SA sold a portfolio of damaged loans to U.S. investment fund Cerberus for a gross value of €358 million, Expansión reported. The portfolio includes loans with collateral real estate located mainly in the Andalusia and Madrid regions.
* Portugal-based Haitong Bank SA has completed the sale of its Irish subsidiary for €12 million, Economia Online reported. With the transaction, Haitong said it will strengthen the quality of its assets and reduce its nonperforming loan ratio to less than 5%.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA agreed to sell its payment systems business to a subsidiary of Nexi SpA for €1 billion. The Italian lender expects to reap a net capital gain in the region of €900 million in its 2020 consolidated income statement as a result of the transaction.
* Greece's Eurobank Ergasias SA agreed to sell an 80% stake in loan servicing unit Eurobank Financial Planning Services to Italian loan recovery company doValue SpA for an enterprise value of €248 million. The agreement also includes the securitization of a portfolio of nonperforming exposures worth €7.5 billion.
* The Swedish central bank raised its repo rate to 0.0% from negative 0.25%, concluding a five-year streak of negative interest rates despite a slowdown in the economy.
* The Norwegian central bank maintained its key policy rate at 1.50% for a second month after three consecutive rate hikes this year as inflation and capacity utilization remain close to target.
* Danish financial regulator Finanstilsynet is tightening the rules on the assessment of the creditworthiness of customers applying for loans for consumption and home financing, Berlingske Business reported. Banks have a responsibility to ensure that borrowers are able to repay loans, and must reject applications for loans that may be risky for the borrower, Finanstilsynet said.
* Russian law enforcement authorities detained Public Stock Co. Orient Express Bank's former investments director Alexander Tsakunov in the so-called "Baring Vostok case," Vedomosti said. Baring Vostok Capital Partners Ltd. founder Michael Calvey and several other executives were detained in February over the alleged embezzlement of funds from Orient Express Bank.
* JSC Halyk Savings Bank of Kazakhstan provided a 3 billion Russian ruble capital boost to Russian unit Commercial Bank Moskommertsbank JSC, news agency Prime wrote.
* Ukraine-based JSC CB Privatbank launched new proceedings at the District Court of Tel Aviv in Israel to obtain compensation for losses incurred under previous owners, with the value of the claim amounting to $600 million.
* Meanwhile, a Ukrainian appeal court decided to postpone the consideration of a complaint filed by Ukrainian authorities against an April decision of a lower instance court declaring the 2016 nationalization of Privatbank unlawful, Reuters reported.
* The potential buyer of mBank SA, put up for sale by German parent Commerzbank AG, may have to pay between 13 billion zlotys and 16 billion zlotys for the Polish lender, Rzeczpospolita wrote.
* Slovakia's bank association plans to refer the recently passed law doubling the special bank tax to the country's Constitutional Court, news agency SITA reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Bank Indonesia keeps rates unchanged; Indian asset manager files for IPO
Middle East & Africa: MSCI Kuwait status upgrade; PrivatBank sues Israeli bank; Nigeria outlook change
Latin America: Stake recovery for BTG founder; new chairman at Argentina's Banco Nacion
North America: Bank deals in Pennsylvania, NJ; Crapo opposes House cannabis banking bill
Global Insurance: ACA mandate unconstitutional; PG&E deal approved; BoE to test on climate change
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Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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