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* The lion statues that have stood outside HSBC Holdings PLC's Hong Kong headquarters since 1935 were burnt by anti-government protesters after the bank closed an account belonging to Spark Alliance, an online platform that has raised money in support of the protest, Apple Daily reported. The bank has kept 11 HSBC and subsidiary Hang Seng Bank Ltd. branches closed Jan. 2, the South China Morning Post reported.

* Sinolink Securities Co. Ltd. obtained approval to open two brokerage offices in the Chinese coastal provinces of Shandong and Liaoning.

* The China Securities Regulatory Commission approved the appointment of Zhou Huidong as chief information officer at Caitong Securities Co. Ltd.

* Agricultural Development Bank of China will issue 6 billion yuan of three-year financial bonds and 6 billion yuan of five-year bonds to raise up to 12 billion yuan, China Securities Journal reported.

* Xie Shaobo was appointed interim chairman of Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission's working group in charge of Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd.'s takeover after the insurer put up its stake in the bank up for sale, Caixin reported. He succeeds Chen Ping, whose contract has expired.

* Taiwan's Nan Shan Life Insurance Co. Ltd. slashed the interest rate on 10 of its New Taiwan dollar-denominated policies to between 2.15% and 2.25% from 2.3% the previous month because it anticipated investment returns would fall, Taipei Times reported. Cathay Life Insurance Co. Ltd. slashed the declared rate for around 30 of its New Taiwan dollar-denominated interest-sensitive policies to a range of 2.15% and 2.3%, the publication said, quoting Lin Chao-ting, the insurer's executive vice president.


* Yoon Jong-won, the former senior secretary for economic affairs of President Moon Jae-in, was appointed CEO of Industrial Bank of Korea, effective Jan. 3, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

* K Bank Co.Ltd. has stopped offering new loans due to a prolonged delay in its capital increase over regulatory complications involving the South Korean digital bank's controlling shareholder, The Financial News reported.

* Korea Development Bank unit KDB Capital Corp. named Deputy President Jun Young-sam its new CEO, effective Jan. 3, FNTimes reported.

* Cho Yong-byoung, chairman and CEO of Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd., Sohn Tae-seung, chairman and CEO of Woori Financial Group Inc. and Yoon Jong-kyoo, chairman and CEO of KB Financial Group Inc. separately said their respective companies will be on the prowl for opportunities in mergers and acquisitions, Yonhap News Agency reported.

* Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol said the regulator would stay on track following an accommodative monetary policy in 2020 with the level of monetary easing depending on external risks, The Korea Times reported.


* CIMB Bank Bhd. appointed Victor Lee as CEO of its Singapore branch, succeeding Mak Lye Mun, who is retiring, The Business Times reported. Lee is also the head of CIMB Group's commercial banking division.

* China-based Ant Financial Services Group and San Francisco-based Razer Inc. have applied with the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital banking license in the city, Bloomberg News reported. A separate Bloomberg News report added that if approved, Razer's financial technology arm, Razer Fintech, will own a 60% stake in the group and five partners will hold the remaining 40%. Meanwhile, The Business Times reported that Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. applied for a digital banking license in Singapore.

* Zain Azhari Mazlan was appointed an executive director of corporate finance and investments at the Securities Commission Malaysia, The Sun reported. He succeeds Eugene Wong, who completed his term Dec. 31, 2019.


* State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar said it would establish a new unit to manage around 35% of its rural and semi-urban branches as part of changes in its retail banking business and national banking group, Business Standard reported. The unit will focus on microfinance and financial inclusion and have a general manager as a head.

* State Bank of India put up two nonperforming assets, Impex Ferro Tech Ltd. with an outstanding amount of 2.01 billion rupees and Rohit Ferro Tech Ltd. with 13.14 billion rupees, up for auction, calling for bids from asset reconstruction companies and banks among other financial institutions. Impex Ferro Tech will be sold for cash and Rohit Ferro Tech will be sold for 50% cash and 50% security receipts.

* JM Financial Home Loans Ltd. CEO Manish Sheth entered into a co-lending tie-up with Bank of Baroda, the Press Trust of India reported. He added that the new deal would allow the nonbank financial firm to link its loan pricing with Bank of Baroda's rates, helping it to expand its loan book. There will be 20% of the loan on JM Financial Home Loans' books and 80% on Bank of Baroda's.

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India gave Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. the green light to snap up a 51.2% holding in Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co. Ltd. HDFC previously received approvals from the Competition Commission of India and the Reserve Bank of India.

* Shriram Transport Finance Co. Ltd. is planning to issue nonconvertible debentures with a base size of 2 billion rupees and an oversubscription option of 10 billion rupees, Mint reported. The interest rate will depend on the tenor and interest payment frequencies.


* There were 19 National Australia Bank Ltd. branches in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory and 10 Commonwealth Bank of Australia branches in New South Wales and Victoria closed due to bushfires, The Australian reported. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. closed three branches in Victoria and two in New South Wales, while Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. closed eight branches. National Australia Bank added that some of its branches in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria would be closed Jan. 3.

* Afterpay Ltd. confirmed that its unit applied for a finance lender's license with the California Department of Business Oversight, which the unit was issued Nov. 12, 2019, as part of its future expansion in the U.S.

* The Australian Financial Complaints Authority received 969 complaints as of Nov. 30, 2019, as part of the one-year window established in July 2019 to lodge complaints against financial institutions, The Australian Financial Review reported. Around 60% of the legacy complaints received by the authority involved lending and credit issues.

* Westpac Banking Corp. said it is offering a disaster relief package for customers impacted financially by recent bushfires. The package includes deferrals for loan repayments for three months for Westpac clients and loan restructuring without establishment fees or break costs for businesses.


Middle East & Africa: Oman Arab Bank plans merger with Alizz Islamic Bank; African bourses to link up

Europe: China halts LSE stock link; Commerzbank eyes comdirect stake; HSBC bets on ETFs

Latin America: Gentera to sell remittance payment business; S&P ups Argentina's rating

North America: JPMorgan tightens data security; banking issues to remain on 2020 House agenda

Global Insurance: Court ruling in ACA case; bushfire claims reach $207M; renewal season ends late

R Sio, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, James Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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