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Hackers bring down Bank of Spain website; Aegon units hit by $97M US penalty


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Hackers bring down Bank of Spain website; Aegon units hit by $97M US penalty

* France is working with Germany to develop financing solutions as part of European efforts to sidestep U.S. sanctions against certain countries such as Iran and continue doing business with them, Bloomberg News wrote.


* Starling Bank Ltd. is set for a funding round to raise about £80 million of new capital from investors over the next few months, with its principal investor committed to provide further support to the U.K. digital challenger bank, the Financial Times wrote.

* U.K.-based TSB Banking Group PLC has postponed to 2019 the planned transfer of its customers to new debit cards originally set for later this year, as the Banco de Sabadell SA unit continues to recover from an IT debacle that took place in April, the Financial Times reported.

* An independent review set up in response to recent scandals involving major banks is reportedly developing plans for an industrywide data system to serve as an "early warning system" in a bid to fight misconduct by staff, according to The Daily Telegraph.

* The Central Bank of Ireland has prohibited David Stamper, a former Citybus Employees' Credit Union Ltd. director, from working in any regulated financial service provider for an indefinite period, after he was found to have misappropriated a significant sum of money from the credit union between 2010 and 2015.


* Swiss asset manager GAM Holding AG has seen outflows of billions of dollars following the liquidation of a portfolio and the suspension of a top money manager in late July, Bloomberg News reported. GAM said the liquidation process has been approved and investors can expect repayments starting from September at quotas between 60% and 87%, depending on the fund type.

* Swiss bank Julius Bär Gruppe AG is considering a return to the U.S. and is looking into the possibility of opening a branch in Miami to serve both the North and South American markets, Finews reported, citing a bank spokesman.

* Vienna Insurance Group AG reported second-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of €61.1 million, compared to €77.5 million a year ago.

* Large investors in Deutsche Bank AG and many observers in the German banking community believe a merger with Commerzbank AG has become very likely given both banks' restructuring needs, the Financial Times noted. Such a deal could happen after Deutsche Bank has completed integrating Deutsche Postbank and reorganizing its investment banking unit.

* Hanspeter Brunner, the former Asia head of Swiss bank BSI SA, who left the bank two years ago before its involvement in the corruption scandal surrounding Malaysia's state investment fund 1MDB was revealed, is now an adviser of Swiss Due Diligence GmbH, a newly formed company specializing in "know your customer" investigations, prevention of money laundering and other legal compliance for financial institutions, Finews reported.


* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has announced charges against Aegon NV unit AEGON USA Investment Management LLC and certain Transamerica entities, ordering them to refund $97 million to retail investors for misleading them about the quantitative models being used to manage their investments.

* The French prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has told ministers to start preparing for a "no-deal" Brexit, Les Echos reported.

* The French government said it will support the candidature of the head of the regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers, Robert Ophèle, to replace Danièle Nouy as head of the ECB's regulatory body, Les Echos reported. Le Figaro also covered.

* Ethias SA approved a dividend of €118 million to its shareholder Vitrufin, owned by the Belgian federal government and the regional governments of Walloon and Flanders, L'Echo noted.


* A spokesman for the Bank of Spain said the central bank's website has been affected by a denial-of-service type of cyberattack since Aug. 26, but said there was no risk of data breach, Reuters reported. The central bank's services and its communications with the ECB were unaffected.


* Bank of Cyprus Holdings Public Ltd. Co. reported first-half loss attributable to owners of the company of €54.0 million, compared to a year-ago loss of €554.0 million, and said Josef Ackermann is stepping down as chairman at the next annual general meeting in 2019. He will also step down as chairman of Bank of Cyprus Public Co. Ltd. The boards of both companies also extended the appointment of John Patrick Hourican as group CEO to the end of 2020.

* Bank of Cyprus also agreed to sell a loan portfolio with a gross book value of €2.8 billion to certain funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC for a gross cash consideration of approximately €1.4 billion to be received by the bank at completion.

* Banca Carige SpA investor Raffaele Mincione wants the Italian lender to find a merger partner "in the shortest time possible," Reuters reported. The best merger partners would be Banco BPM SpA or Unione di Banche Italiane SpA, he told MF. Mincione, who now reportedly owns about 9.9% of the bank, said he has submitted a list of candidates for a new board, including his name for the chairman role.

* SIA SpA, a payment services group based in Italy, is getting ready for an IPO, an insider told Reuters.

* The Bank of Italy approved a capital increase for Banca Intermobiliare, MF wrote.

* Huulk, a new United Arab Emirates-based digital exchange, has applied for a digital exchange license in Malta, Reuters reported. CEO Ibrahim Mohammed said the exchange, which is looking to attract listings from Islamic financial technology companies, also hopes to team up with exchanges in Europe over the next few weeks.


* Danish farmers, who are struggling after severe droughts, have total debts of 312 billion Danish kroner, Børsen reported. Denmark's central bank said most of the debt is in mortgages, while about 20% are bank loans, and that an interest rate hike would have "significant effects" on the agricultural sector.

* Several economists have called for further measures to lower the record high debts of Swedish households, Svenska Dagbladet reported. The rate of increase in banks' new lending to households is at its lowest for more than three years, and has fallen since new amortization requirements were introduced last year, but economists say the increase is still worrying.

* Danske Andelskassers Bank will repurchase shares in mortgage bank DLR Kredit A/S for 54 million Danish kroner, having sold shares in 2016, Finanswatch reported. The deal will affect the capital adequacy of Danske Andelskassers Bank by about 0.5 percentage point.


* Borsa Istanbul has started work on establishing a swap market, with operations beginning with foreign exchange markets in the first stage. Istanbul Takas ve Saklama Bankasi AS will serve as the swap market's central counterparty clearing house. The bourse also said it would accelerate its work on increasing the depth of its existing derivatives markets.

* AO Gazprombank is set to become the new majority owner of Russian nonstate pension fund Blagosostoyanie with a stake of more than 50%, while JSC Russian Agricultural Bank will get 25% minus one share in the pension fund, Kommersant reported. Russian Railways, which currently controls the fund, will keep a 25% stake in Blagosostoyanie.

* The Polish Finance Ministry proposed capping fees collected by investment fund managers for managing open-end funds at 2% from 2022, with investors worried that the proposed rules could negatively affect this market segment, Rzeczpospolita said.

* Polish development lender Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego plans to open offices in Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris to provide assistance to Polish companies, Puls Biznesu wrote.

* The National Bank of Kazakhstan said it revoked the banking licenses of JSC Qazaq Banki and JSC Eximbank Kazakhstan for repeated violations of regulations and would seek the two lenders' liquidation in court, Reuters reported.


Asia-Pacific: Bank of China in M&A deal; CLSA to enter Pakistan; Suruga Bank chairman to leave

Middle East and Africa: Abraaj faces investor ire; uniBank failure could cost Ghana billions

Latin America: Mexican economy shrinks in Q2; Peru's Banco Financiero changes name


Consumer lending boom could spell danger for Russia if left unchecked: Low rates and a household income squeeze have stoked demand for consumer debt. Experts warn this growth is unsustainable and that banks concentrated in the unsecured lending sector are most at risk.

Europe's top life insurers reshuffle as business mix changes: Axa held on to its spot as Europe's biggest life insurer by premiums in 2017, but both Generali and Munich Re took a tumble in the ranking as a move away from guaranteed returns products continues.

Ben Meggeson, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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