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CBA faces more allegations; China ups market interest rates

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Lawsuits, new regulations and more

* Australia's anti-money laundering regulator filed fresh claims against Commonwealth Bank of Australia, expanding its civil penalty proceedings against the bank. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, or AUSTRAC, filed a further 100 alleged violations of the country's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing law against the bank.

* The latest filing came after Commonwealth Bank of Australia submitted its response to the lawsuit filed by the AUSTRAC in August. In its response, the bank admitted to some of the regulator's claims but contested others, including some relating to reporting of suspicious matters.

* Bangladesh's central bank reportedly plans to sue Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. for its involvement in a US$81 million cyberheist in 2016, and has asked the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to join the planned lawsuit.

* The China Banking Regulatory Commission fined China Guangfa Bank Co. Ltd. 722 million yuan for its involvement in a string of defaults by Chinese electronics maker Cosun Group in 2016.

* China's banking regulator will allow foreign banks to conduct yuan trading upon establishing operations in China, a move that is part of the country's efforts to open up the financial sector.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission approved guidelines on collaboration between peer-to-peer lending platforms and commercial banks.

* The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority maintained the countercyclical capital buffer for Australian authorized deposit-taking institutions at zero percent and announced revised rules on large loan exposures of ADIs.

M&A updates

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. agreed to sell its life insurance business, OnePath Life Ltd., to Zurich Insurance Group AG for US$2.14 billion, or A$2.85 billion. The deal is expected to complete by the end of 2018. Moody's said the deal is credit positive for both ANZ and Zurich Insurance.

* Malayan Banking Bhd., or Maybank, agreed to acquire two subsidiaries of Permodalan Nasional Bhd. for an aggregate of 51 million Malaysian ringgit.

* Malaysia-based AMMB Holdings Bhd. is reportedly considering selling its stake in unit AmGeneral Insurance Bhd. in a bid to exit its noncore businesses and focus on its main banking operations.

* Bank of Baroda acquired a 51% stake in Baroda Pioneer Asset Management Co. Ltd. from joint venture partner Pioneer Investments, a unit of Amundi SA.

* Nepal's central bank is seeking to sell its 34.6% stake in the Nepal Stock Exchange as part of the government's plans to privatize the bourse.

In other news

* China's central bank increased its money market interest rates Dec. 14 hours after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority also raised the base rate by 25 basis points to 1.75%, effective Dec. 14, following the Federal Reserve's decision.

* Meanwhile, the central banks of Philippines and Indonesia kept their respective policy rates unchanged.

* The China Banking Association denied reports that some banks sent a petition opposing proposed changes to asset management rules.

* TSB Bank Ltd. will repay customers who were overcharged for terminating their fixed-term lending agreements.

* Singapore-based DBS Bank Ltd. established five wholly owned units as part of a process to convert DBS' existing India franchise to a locally incorporated subsidiary.

* The Indian central bank placed Corporation Bank under prompt corrective action over its high level of nonperforming assets and the need to raise capital.

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Asia-Pacific financial institutions M&A interest tracker