* Brazil's Banco Inter SA filed for an initial public offering in which it plans to issue new shares while members of the Menin family, which are the bank's controlling shareholders, will also sell shares, Reuters reported. At the same time, the lender is also exploring the potential sale of a stake and has hired an investment bank to search for investors, "two people with knowledge of the matter" told the newswire.
* Australian insurer QBE Insurance Group Ltd. is selling its Latin America operations to Zurich Insurance Group AG for an aggregate price of $409 million. The sale will include QBE's operations in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. QBE will retain its Puerto Rico operations, which will become part of the group's North American operations.
* Fitch Ratings lowered Brazil's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to BB- from BB, citing the country's fiscal deficits and growing government debt burden. The downgrade also reflects the Brazilian government's failure to legislate reforms, including a pension overhaul, which would improve the structural performance of public finances.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Investa Bank SA Institución de Banca Múltiple is studying steps to renegotiate its agreed purchase of Deutsche Bank México SA Institución de Banca Múltiple, Bloomberg News reported, citing "people with direct knowledge of the matter." Investa Bank could try to lower the $175 million purchase price of Deutsche Bank México due to revenue losses from its operations on custodial services for foreign securities in the Mexican stock market, the sources said.
* Panama's insurance regulator approved the transfer of Assicurazioni Generali SpA (Sucursal Panamá)'s total insurance and reinsurance portfolio to ASSA Compania de Seguros S.A., as a part of the deal that sees ASSA acquire the Panamanian subsidiary of Italian insurance giant Generali.
* Panama's Unibank SA appointed Ramón Iván Miranda Paredes as its new general manager, effective Feb. 26. He replaces Javier Gallardo Vilajuana.
* Plans for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's first visit to the White House have been postponed after a phone call with Donald Trump in which the U.S. leader pushed for the construction of a border wall between the two countries, Reuters reported, citing a senior U.S. official. "The two leaders agreed now was not the immediate right time for a visit but that they would have their teams continue to talk and work together," the official was quoted as saying.
* Bernardo González Rosas, the president of Mexican banking and securities commission CNBV, said the country needs regulations to govern operations involving virtual assets such as bitcoin, El Economista reported.
* Moody's upgraded El Salvador's long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings to B3 from Caa1, with a stable outlook, citing reduced government liquidity risks and less confrontational political conditions which lower the risk of missed debt payments.
* Brazil's Supreme Court issued an order lifting the bank secrecy of some people and companies being investigated in a corruption scandal in which President Michel Temer has also been implicated, Reuters reported. Prosecutors are reportedly looking to investigate Temer's bank accounts and tax details. Temer said he will not run in presidential elections scheduled for Oct. 7, the newswire reported separately.
* Banco do Nordeste do Brasil SA posted a net profit of about 681.7 million reais for 2017, down 6.9% from the previous year, as other administrative expenses ticked 7.9% higher, Valor Econômico reported.
* Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said he could leave the PSD social democratic party to run for president in elections later this year, Valor Econômico reported. Meirelles has been in contact with a number of political parties regarding a potential run for Brazil's presidency.
* Cielo SA said its board approved a new share repurchase program for the buyback of up to 1,550,000 common shares. The new program will expire on Feb. 22, 2019.
* Moody's revised the outlooks to negative from stable for Colombian lenders Bancolombia SA and Banco de Bogotá SA following a similar action on Colombia's Baa2 sovereign bond rating.
* Credit to the private sector in Peru grew 7% year over year in January, up from the 6.6% annual growth rate registered in December 2017, El Comercio reported, citing central bank data. Meanwhile, local banking industry association Asbanc said mortgage lending in Peru increased 8.17% in January from the same month a year ago, the publication reported separately.
* S&P Global Ratings said the fallout from corruption scandals involving Peruvian construction firms and Brazilian builder Odebrecht could negatively impact loan default rates for Peruvian banks, El Comercio reported. Banks exposed to the construction sector could experience pressure on capital levels if rising default levels erode their profitability ratios, the rating agency said.
* Fierce competition among the largest banks in Peru, brought on by sluggish demand for credit, has prompted medium-sized lenders in the country to focus increasingly on niche segments, SEMANAeconómica reported, citing bank executives and industry analysts. The smaller banks have started to reduce their exposure to noncore segments, according to the report.
* The overall nonperforming loan portfolio of Colombian banks increased 36.97% in 2017 while total profits fell 33.25% amid the country's economic slowdown, La República reported, citing regulatory data.
* Moody's revised its outlook on Colombia's Seguros Generales Suramericana SA and Seguros De Vida Suramericana S.A. to negative from stable following a similar action on Colombia's sovereign bond ratings.
* Moody's said its negative outlook on Chile's banking sector reflects the government's rising debt burden, which could negatively impact the government's ability to support local lenders, especially if its fiscal position deteriorates further. However, improving economic growth and rising confidence should provide Chilean banks with a better operating environment, Moody's said.
* Argentina's Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires has raised its maximum borrowing limit for mortgage loans to 2.8 million Argentine pesos from 2 million pesos previously, Clarín reported.
* Argentina's AFIP tax agency said it would allow the lifting of an asset freeze on Banco Finansur SA in order to facilitate the sale of the troubled bank's assets and liabilities, El Cronista reported. According to an earlier report, Argentina's central bank is looking to expedite the sale of Banco Finansur before March 9, which is the deadline for the bank's suspension.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Chile's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at A, with a stable outlook. The country's ratings are supported by a credible macro policy framework centered on an inflation-targeting regime, flexible exchange rate and a relatively strong sovereign balance sheet.
* Asia-Pacific: QBE to divest LatAm ops; Indonesian president nominates new central bank chief
* Middle East & Africa: First Abu Dhabi Bank eyes Saudi branch; Kenyan rate cap law set for reform
* Europe: Deutsche Bank to float DWS unit; NIBC confirms IPO plans; SEB CFO to leave
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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