* Bank of Singapore Ltd. is considering opening a private bank in the U.K. due to reduced costs from a weaker British pound, the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Bahren Shaari. The lender is also set to open its branch at the International Financial Center in Dubai in 2017.
* National Australia Bank Ltd. filed a suit against Google Inc. in a U.S. court over an error that led to personal information of 60,000 customers being emailed to incorrect addresses, The Australian reported, citing court documents. The case, which Google is unlikely to contest, would allow the tech firm to share certain information with the lender.
* Thailand's KASIKORNBANK PCL expects to receive final approval for its planned operation in China by mid-2017, The Nikkei reported, citing Chairman Banthoon Lamsam. The bank will be able to operate under the same conditions as a local Chinese bank once it receives regulatory approval.
* A Singapore court sentenced former BSI SA banker Yvonne Seah Yew Foong to two weeks in jail in connection with alleged money laundering linked to troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd., Bloomberg News reported.
* Chinese authorities said during the country's annual economic meeting that China would adopt a more active fiscal policy and keep a prudent and neutral monetary policy in 2017, Reuters reported. The country will stem the growth of asset bubbles and place greater importance on preventing financial risk, the authorities added.
* Data from the U.S. Treasury Department showed that China's holdings of U.S. debt fell to US$1.12 trillion at the end of October, the country's lowest in more than six years, thepaper.cn reported. China cut its U.S. debt holdings by US$128.3 billion between June and October and was replaced by Japan as the world's largest holder of U.S. debt.
* The Asset Management Association of China said investing in Hong Kong stocks via the China-Hong Kong stock connect scheme helps relieve insurance funds' asset allocation pressure, raise investment returns and expand overseas investment channels, Shanghai Securities News reported. The Chinese insurance sector's stock and securities investment fund stood at 1.86 trillion yuan as of the end of October, accounting for 14.42% of the sector's fund balance.
* Chen Wenhui, vice chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, said the insurance regulator would strengthen cooperation with the People's Bank of China, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Commission to standardize insurers' market actions and step up supervision to prevent systemic risks, the Securities Times reported.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* As the first securities company in Japan, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings Inc. will acquire Kobe, Japan-based insurance agent Eternal for up to ¥3 billion, as part of Tokai Tokyo's efforts to sell life and general insurance products to younger customers, The Nikkei reported.
* Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. appointed Takeshi Kunibe, president of its banking unit, as president and CEO of the company, effective April 1, 2017, The Nikkei reported.
* Despite the South Korean central bank's decision to freeze its key rate, the COFIX benchmark rate for mortgage-backed loans has increased since August for four straight months up to 4.09 percentage points as of Nov. 16, the Kookmin Ilbo reported, citing the Korea Federation of Banks. The U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate in June and a household debt situation in South Korea were cited as factors that contributed to the increase.
* While South Korea's first internet-only bank, K Bank, received initial regulatory approval to operate, the bank says it is not able to provide fully integrated services due to delays in the passage of fintech-related bills through the country's national assembly, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
* Thailand's Office of Insurance Commission collaborated with the Thai General Insurance Association, the Department of Children and Youth and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to launch an affordable renter's insurance policy for Thai students living in dormitories, Krungthep Turakij reported.
* Bank Indonesia Deputy Governor Perry Warjiyo said that lending growth for 2016 has only reached 7% due to low private investment and as banks increase provision to cover for lending risk, Kompas reported.
* Separately, Bank Indonesia Senior Deputy Governor Mirza Adityaswara said loan growth in 2016 would not surpass 9% year over year, despite gradually increasing demand, The Jakarta Post reported.
* PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk raised capital expenditure to 5 trillion Indonesian rupiah to improve its IT infrastructure and set aside 4 trillion rupiah for acquisitions and capital injections into subsidiaries in 2017, The Jakarta Globe reported.
* Indian income tax officials discovered 600 million rupees from 20 fake accounts from an Axis Bank Ltd. branch in the Indian city of Noida, Mint reported, citing the Press Trust of India. Enforcement Directorate and tax officials have raided eight Axis Bank branches and arrested a number of employees in connection with the incident.
* India's Central Bureau of Investigation arrested two Reserve Bank of India employees for an unauthorized exchange of nearly 20 million rupees of demonetized banknotes with new ones, Press Trust of India reported.
* State Bank of India collaborated with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. to launch the former's mobile wallet platform in four Indian states, The Hindu Business Line reported. The service will be introduced across India by the end of December.
* Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. said it received regulatory approval to raise an additional 30 billion rupees through Indian rupee-denominated masala bonds in overseas markets, the Press Trust of India reported, citing Vice Chairman and CEO Keki Mistry. The company said it had already raised 50 billion rupees for the issuance prior to receiving approval.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell is urging banks to serve three months' notice to customers if their loans are not being renewed to help reduce defaults, The Australian Financial Review reported. The recommended time period for rural properties and assets is six months.
* New Zealand's Commerce Commission slapped insurance company Youi with a NZ$320,000 fine for misleading clients using ambush sales tactics between July 2014 and February 2016, Scoop Media reported. The insurer had earlier pleaded guilty to a number of related charges.
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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