* ING Groep NV appointed Krista Baetens CEO of its wholesale banking business in Asia-Pacific, effective Jan. 15, China Daily reported. Baetens will be responsible for the strategy and performance of the business in the region.
* Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. said the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved the appointment of Ren Deqi as chairman of the bank. Further, the lender will increase the registered capital of wholly owned subsidiary BOCOM Financial Leasing Co. Ltd. to 14 billion yuan from 8.5 billion yuan and set up BOCOM Financial Technology Co. Ltd. with a registered capital of 600 million yuan.
* The bank will also issue up to 90 billion yuan worth of sustainable debts in both domestic and overseas markets and increase the registered capital of subsidiary Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) Ltd. by HK$30 billion.
* Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Co. Ltd. has officially commenced operations in Shanghai, becoming China's first fully foreign-owned insurance holding company, the Shanghai Securities News reported.
* S&P Global Ratings expects corporate defaults to increase again in 2020, citing tight refinancing conditions for weaker borrowers. Chinese firms face 6.5 trillion yuan in effective onshore maturities in 2020, an expected increase from 6.3 trillion yuan in 2019. S&P Ratings China Country Specialist Li Chang said the Chinese government is expected to be "increasingly tolerant" of defaults, including by state-owned enterprises.
* China's Ant Financial Services Group is working with lenders to plan an IPO, after earlier having delayed the listing, the Financial Times reported, citing two sources. The report added that Credit Suisse Group AG and China International Capital Corp. Ltd. are party to the plans. Ant Financial may also consider a dual listing in Hong Kong and China, a source added.
* BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are in talks with Chinese partners to set up majority-owned asset management businesses in China, Caixin reported, quoting sources. One of the sources said Goldman Sachs is in discussions with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.'s wealth unit.
* SBI Holdings Inc. will invest in Chikuho Bank Ltd. by acquiring shares from an existing shareholder, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The move is part of SBI's efforts to enhance alliance with regional banks, following two deals previously made with Shimane Bank Ltd. and Fukushima Bank Ltd.
* South Korea's KB Financial Group Inc., MBK Partners, IMM Private Equity Inc., Hahn & Co., Taiwan's Fubon Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and five other private equity firms took part in a preliminary bidding to acquire the South Korean insurance arm of U.S.-based Prudential Financial Inc., Yonhap News Agency reported, citing industry sources.
* Talks between Apple Inc. and South Korean credit card issuers broke down because of the iPhone maker's demands for the South Korean companies to install payment terminals for Apple Pay, provide their affiliated merchants with devices necessary for Apple Pay and for receiving transaction fees, The Korea Times reported.
* Thailand's Government Savings Bank posted a net profit of 26.554 billion baht in 2019, while its nonperforming ratio stood at 2.72%, the lowest level compared with those of the country's five largest banks, Post Today reported.
* Rathian Srimongkol, president and CEO of Krungthai Card PCL, said the firm's net profit for fiscal 2019 surged 7.5% to a record high of 5.524 billion baht, Krungthep Turakij reported. The lender plans to pay shareholders dividends of at least 40% of the net profit after tax deductions and legal reserves.
* Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank PCL is collaborating with SCB Life Assurance PCL, a subsidiary of FWD Group Financial Services Pte. Ltd., to launch a critical illness insurance plan, for which policyholders who never file a claim will receive all premiums they have paid back at the end of the term, Krungthep Turakij reported. The lender expects premiums obtained through the bancassurance channel to grow more than 20% in 2020.
* Indonesia's Financial Service Authority Chairman Wimboh Santoso said an unnamed investor is considering taking over PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported. Bank Muamalat is under pressure to dispose of its bad assets, which led to a decline in its capital.
* Siam Commercial Bank PCL has applied with the Central Bank of Myanmar to upgrade its representative office in the country with a bank subsidiary license, Bangkok Post reported, citing CEO Arthid Nanthawitthaya. He added that if the license is granted, the lender would give the representative office fresh funds to upgrade it.
* Indonesia plans to set up an insurance holding company to rescue PT Asuransi Jiwasraya (Persero) in February, The Jakarta Post reported, quoting one of the country’s ministers, Erick Thohir. The holding company is expected to have up to 2 trillion rupiah in cashflow.
* Bank of Baroda, Sundaram Finance Ltd., State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and Union Bank of India will sell a total of 50,125,000 equity shares, amounting to a 37.14% stake, in Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd. for 3.38 billion rupees. Following the transactions, the shareholders will no longer own any interest in the Indian credit reporting company.
* India has asked state-owned and private banks to open up to 15,000 branches in fiscal year 2021, The Economic Times reported, citing three sources. The branches must open according to the government's directives.
* India's IDBI Bank Ltd. is looking to approach the Reserve Bank of India about removing the lender from its prompt corrective action framework, citing its improved financials, Press Trust of India reported, citing sources. The bank was placed under the regulator's scrutiny back in May 2017.
* India's central bank said urban cooperative banks will have to report details regarding exposures worth more than 50 million rupees within 30 days of the end of a quarter through its XBRL reporting platform.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* As of Jan. 14, insurers in Australia have received 13,750 bushfire-related claims from the four affected states, with losses estimated at A$1.34 billion. Most of the main insurers have exposure to claims, with different exposures in each state, said Campbell Fuller, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Australia.
* Judo Bank Pty Ltd., a neobank in Australia licensed in 2019, increased its headcount to 170 from 70, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing Joseph Healy, the lender's co-CEO. He said the bank had received about 1,500 applications from bankers working at major lenders.
* New Zealand's Laybuy, which operates in the so-called buy-now-pay-later segment, is looking to list on the boards of the Australian Securities Exchange in May, The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk blog reported. Laybuy is currently conducting a pre-IPO funding round targeting A$10 million to A$15 million. The round is led by Australia-based Venture Advisory and is expected to wrap up in February.
* The owners of Australia's Latitude Financial Group Ltd. are looking to refinance the firm's debts in February, The Australian reported.
* National Australia Bank Ltd. said it plans to trim its iSaver account rate by 0.15% to a maximum introductory rate of 1.55% for four months and the maximum rate on NAB's Reward Saver by 0.11% to 1.50%, The Australian reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Fitch affirms UAE banks; Bank Muscat FY'19 profit up; Allianz Cameroon names CEO
Europe: TSB enlists IBM for IT revamp; Latvia OKs sale of Danske's ops to Citadele
Latin America: Argentina's 2019 inflation highest since 1991; Banco C6's corporate banking ops
North America: Morgan Stanley Q4'19 EPS up 63%; bank deals in Massachusetts, Florida
Global Insurance: 'Significant' reinsurance rate hikes to come; Hannover Re cat bond; 2019 heat
R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 6:30 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.