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Carlyle, GIC to buy SBI Life stake; 2 Chinese banks to set up wealth units

GREATER CHINA

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved China Construction Bank Corp. and Bank of China Ltd. to set up wealth management subsidiaries, while several other commercial banks have begun to apply for the establishment of such subsidiaries, National Business Daily reported.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said it would conclude a comprehensive examination of lenders by July 2019 to see if they have overcharged clients through default fines or interest, the Taipei Times reported. The inspection came after the commission found that a bank overcharged its customers a total of about NT$10 million in fines.

* An indirect subsidiary of NWS Holdings Ltd. conditionally agreed to purchase the entire issued share capital of Hong Kong-based FTLife Insurance Co. Ltd., a unit of Tongchuangjiuding Investment Management Group Co. Ltd., for HK$21.5 billion (US$2.75 billion) in cash, subject to adjustments.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Suruga Bank Ltd. disclosed a ¥3.24 billion lawsuit against current and former executives including members of the lender's founding family over alleged irregular loans, The Asahi Shimbun reported. The Japanese bank has a separate lawsuit seeking ¥3.5 billion in damages from former top management in connection with real estate loans.

* Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. will set up a U.S. bank holding company in January 2019 by converting SMBC Financial Services Inc. into SMBC Americas Holdings Inc. The new U.S. holding company will be wholly owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

* South Korea's KB Kookmin Bank is facing its first labor strike in 19 years after its trade union decided to hold a strike in January 2019 to demand increased profit sharing, The Korea Economic Daily reported.

* South Korea's supreme court upheld lower court rulings ordering KB Kookmin Card Co. Ltd. and Korea Credit Bureau to pay 100,000 won to each of 9,062 participants in a collective lawsuit seeking damages over a credit card data breach in 2014, Yonhap News Agency reported.

ASEAN

* Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office expects the country's economy to have grown by more than 4% in 2018, Post Today reported. However, the office will reassess its projection and may announce adjustments in late January 2019. The country's National Economic and Social Development Board expects the figure to stand at 4.2%. The economy grew 4.9%, 4.6% and 3.3% in the first, second and third quarters, respectively.

* Indonesia's PT Bank Syariah Mandiri purchased 2 trillion rupiah worth of sukuk by Bank Indonesia, or about two-thirds of the total offered by the central bank Dec. 21, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Zurich Takaful Malaysia Berhad CEO Salim Majid Zain will step down from the role, effective Jan. 13, 2019, Malaysia's The Sun reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* United Bank of India is set to receive a capital infusion of 21.59 billion rupees from the government as part of the latter's plan to inject 286.15 billion rupees in six state-owned banks, Press Trust of India reported.

* U.S.-based private equity giant Carlyle Group LP and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. are acquiring a 10% strategic stake in SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd., The Economic Times reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

* Satin Creditcare Network Ltd. is seeking to secure a license from the Reserve Bank of India as the company is looking to establish a separate unit for its small and midsize enterprise business, The Hindu Business Line reported.

* Corporation Bank appointed P. Bharathi, an executive director of Canara Bank, to the role of managing director and CEO.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia's federal government plans to set a mandate for its ­marquee A$2 billion Australian Business Securitization Fund, The Australian reported. The investment mandate will have a timeline for money to be deployed to the fund and a targeted rate of ­return above the official cash rate of 1.5%.

* Two Australian banks have begun issuing refunds to thousands of customers for raking in incorrect fees or interest after the royal commission exposed corporate misconduct in the sector, including charging customers without providing financial advice and levying deceased people's accounts, The Australian reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: NCB, Riyad Bank in merger talks; Rwanda ups capital requirements for banks

Europe: BBVA selling €1.49B of bad loans; Visa to acquire UK's Earthport

Latin America: Citibank Brazil eyes 9% loan book growth; Banco Macro buys back shares

North America: Trump adviser says Powell, Mnuchin will keep jobs; Visa buying Earthport in UK

R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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