* DBS BankLtd. introduced a mobile banking service in India that uses avirtual assistant to help its customers in completing transactions, Today reported.The Singaporean lender plans to make the service available in other countriessoon.
* ChinaDevelopment Bank Corp. and Habib Bank Ltd. signed a US$500 million agreement forcertain projects in Pakistan to receive medium- and long-term foreign currencyfinancing, Dawn reported.
* Australian insurer Suncorp Group Ltd. took a US$5 million equity stake inU.S.-based startup Trov Inc. in a bid to launch an on-demand insuranceplatform, The Australian reported.
* Alfonso Salcedo Jr., Security Bank Corp.'s president and CEO, said 's capital infusion in the Philippine lender will open moreopportunities to strengthen the Japanese bank's presence in the local retailmarket, The Philippine Star reported.
* The People's Bank of China injected 140 billion yuan intomoney markets at an interest rate of 2.25% through seven-day reverse repurchaseagreements, ce.cn reported.The Chinese central bank conducted a net injection of 680 billion yuan into thebanking system through reverse repos in the week of April 18.
* The combined performance of China's three listed citycommercial banks in 2015 was better than previous years, Reuters reported.Bank of Ningbo Co.Ltd. and Bank ofNanjing Co. Ltd. had double-digit growth rates for net profit in2015, while their nonperforming loan ratio declined 11 basis points year overyear to 0.83% at the end of 2015. Bank of Beijing Co. Ltd.'s overdue loan ratio stood at1.51% at the end of 2015, the lowest among China's listed commercial banks.
* The number of Zhongrong International Trust Co. Ltd.'sprofessional subsidiaries went up to 28 in 2015 from 10 in 2014, as manyChinese trust companies were also engaged in increasing professional subsidiaries,Caixin reported.
* The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research cut its GDPgrowth forecast to 1.27% from 1.53% in January, citing worse-than-expectedexports for the decline, the Taipei Timesreported.Gordon Sun, director of TIER's Economic Forecasting Center, said the island'seconomy might have trouble staying above the 1% mark in 2016. TIER also notedthat downside risks remain if oil prices fall and electronics sales fail torecover in the second half.
* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission held discussionswith various institutions on the island over whether to allow Apple Pay tooperate locally, the Central News Agency reported. The FSCwill submit relevant suggestions and analyses to Taiwan's Executive Yuan beforeMay 20.
* Jason Wang, former chairmanof Yuanta Life Insurance Co.Ltd., was appointed as an independent director at , United Daily News reported.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* The portfolio strategies of Japan's four largest lifeinsurance companies for fiscal 2016 highlight a shift to overseas bonds fromdomestic government bonds, The Sankei Shimbunreported.
* FukuokaFinancial Group Inc. plans to expand its assets by 50% to ¥2trillion by March 2019, Tokyo's TheNikkei reported.
* The combined funding balance of Japan's top threecrowdfunding companies for 2015 grew more than 70% to ¥52.3 billion year overyear, The Nikkei reported.
* Keiyo BankLtd. appointed Toshiyuki Kumatani, an executive managing directorat the bank, as its new CEO, The Nikkeireported.
* South Korean lenders' exposure to five major shipbuildingand shipping companies in the country undergoing restructuring stood at 20trillion won, The Chosun Ilbo reported.
* Yim Jong-yong, chairman of South Korea's FinancialServices Commission, said creditor banks — and not the government — should takethe initiative to help troubled companies restructure, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.
* A plan by the Thai Cabinet to lower the amount of bankdeposit protection to 1 million baht was postponed to Aug. 11, 2020, from anearlier date of Aug. 11, 2016, Thailand's DailyNews reported.Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said the move has nothing to do withconfidence in the economy or financial institutions but to give the public moretime to adjust and avoid panic.
* Prapan Charoenprawatt, president of Thailand's Market forAlternative Investment, said that while many companies want to be listed on thecountry's bourses, there are not enough personnel to process related proceduresin time, Thailand's Krungthep Turakijreported. Hesaid the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand needs more analysts andauditors.
* SiamCommercial Bank PCL targets to lend about 80 billion baht to 100billion baht to small and medium-sized enterprises in 2016 while aiming foroverall credit growth between 4% and 6%, KrungthepTurakij reported.
* Bank ofAyudhya PCL, which is trying to increase its auto loan market shareto 25% in 2016, said it wants its auto loan business to remain as the leader inthe industry, Thailand's Thai Rath reported.
* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority said it willregulate financial technology service providers and is currently in discussionswith industry players, Bisnis Indonesiareported.
* Philippine banks have tightened standards for commercialreal estate and housing loans in the first quarter amid stricter financialregulations and deterioration in borrowers' profiles, The Philippine Star reported.
* Microfinance institution wants the Reserve Bank ofIndia to permit a demerger of Ujjivan Financial Services and itsbanking subsidiary to meet regulatory norms in the long term, Business Standard reported.
* India's minister of state for finance said board membersof concerned public banks should take the lead in initiating mergers, with theIndian government and central bank working only as facilitators, the PressTrust of India reported.
* Public sector banks in India had 701 accounts with morethan 1 billion rupees of bad loans as of the end of December 2015, toaling 1.63trillion rupees worth of loans, the Press Trust of India reported.
* India's Supreme Court has ordered Vijay Mallya to providedetails of his foreign assets to a consortium of lenders that money to the defunctKingfisher Airlines, The Hindu reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEWZEALAND
* CommonwealthBank of Australia will attend a Senate Economics Committee hearingregarding allegationsinto its insurance division's intentional delay and denial of claims, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
* A senior financial planner at wasbanned from offering professional advice after an investigation by theAustralian Securities and Investments Commission found that he was engaged inmisleading and deceptive conduct by pocketing money owed to the Australianlender and overcharging clients, TheSydney Morning Herald reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THEWORLD
* Atlas MaraLtd. held discussionswith a consortium of investors exploring a potential acquisition of 's 62.3% stake inBarclays Africa Group Ltd.and a potential combination of Atlas Mara with the Johannesburg-listed company.
* CredicorpLtd. said it sold 50% of its shares in forproceeds of about 61.85 billion Chilean pesos.
* Shareholders of Banco de Valores SA elected Juan Nápoli to replace Luis Maria Corsiglia asthe bank's new chairman, parent company Mercado de Valores de Buenos Aires SAsaid in an April 25 filing with Argentina's CNV.
* GoldmanSachs Asset Management LP plans to launch the sale of itsinvestment funds in Poland in June, Parkiet reported.
Sally Wang, JonathanCheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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