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IAG, AMMB seek bids for Malaysian insurer; BNP Paribas to cut SBI Life stake


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IAG, AMMB seek bids for Malaysian insurer; BNP Paribas to cut SBI Life stake

* U.K.-based Prudential PLC is eyeing acquisitions and distribution partnerships with lenders in Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, Reuters reported, citing Nic Nicandrou, CEO of the company's Asia operations.


* Netherlands-based Vivat NV confirmed that its Chinese parent, Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., is conducting a strategic review of the Dutch insurer, which could lead to a sale, Reuters reported. Anbang was earlier reported to have tapped JPMorgan to arrange the sale of Vivat, valued at about €1.5 billion.

* China Lending Corp., a nonbank direct lending corporation, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with financial service company Zhejiang Lixin Holding Co. Ltd. The companies will make use of their resources to generate growth for both parties.

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has appointed senior officials to head its 26 functional departments, Caixin reported, citing sources close to the matter.

* Hong Kong investment company Summer Capital snapped up a stake in Switzerland-headquartered startup SEBA Crypto AG for an undisclosed sum, the South China Morning Post reported. Jack Chung, spokesman for Summer Capital, expects SEBA Crypto to obtain approval as a banking and securities dealer by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.


* South Korean prosecutors investigating an employment-related corruption scandal at Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd. are seeking an arrest warrant against Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. Chairman Cho Yong-byoung, who served as Shinhan Bank CEO between 2015 and 2017, Yonhap News Agency reported.

* South Korea-based Woori Bank set up an office in Singapore, named Asia Credit Analysis & Approval Debt Center, as part of plans to streamline the loan approval process of its overseas units, The Korea Herald reported, citing the lender. The bank sent four in-house credit specialists from South Korea to the Singapore office, which will also house two local employees.

* South Korea's Financial Services Commission will lower loan rates for people with mid-level credit scores by up to 10 percentage points in a bid to ease their financial burdens, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing officials. People with mid-range credit scores are currently allowed to borrow money from financial firms at a lending rate of 10% to 20% per year without collateral.


* Philippine Bank of Communications raised 2.90 billion pesos through an issuance of peso-denominated long-term negotiable certificates of deposit, BusinessWorld reported. The notes bear an interest rate of 5.625% and will mature in 5.5 years.

* Vietnam Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development, or Agribank, saw its nonperforming loans kept at Vietnam Asset Management Co. plunge by more than 9.4 trillion dong to 9.59 trillion dong in the first half, Viet Nam News reported, citing the lender's audited financial statement for the period. Agribank's total NPLs stood at nearly 29.95 trillion dong as of June 30, making up 3.2% of its total outstanding loans.

* PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia Tbk CEO Achmad Permana said the lender is looking at new customers to grow its third party funds by 28% in 2019, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Thai Credit Retail Bank PCL will focus on granting nano- and pico-finance loans to smaller clients who do not have access to financial resources, Thailand's Post Today reported. The bank is also looking to operate 500 branches in 2019, with plans to open branches near marketplaces to reach more potential clients.


* France-based BNP Paribas SA is considering selling part of its stake in India-based SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. over the coming quarters as Indian regulation requires a larger free float, Reuters reported, confirming an earlier report by French newspaper Les Echos. BNP Paribas said the regulation requires a free float of 25%, whereas SBI Life's current free float on the Indian stock market is about 16%.

* India's Federal Bank Ltd. has secured approval from the Reserve Bank of India to sell up to a 45% stake in Fedbank Financial Services Ltd. to private equity fund True North Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. The lender has agreed to sell a 26% stake in Fedbank Financial Services in May.

* Bank unions in India were asked to hold protests Oct. 9 against the proposed three-way merger of state-run lenders Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank, Press Trust of India reported, citing C. H. Venkatachalam, general secretary of All India Bank Employees' Association.

* Indian housing finance regulator National Housing Bank raised the refinance limit for housing finance firms in fiscal 2018-19 to 300 billion rupees from the current 240 billion rupees, Press Trust of India reported. The move is aimed at helping ease the liquidity crunch in the sector.

* Bangladesh's finance ministry removed Janata Bank Ltd. directors Manik Chandra Dey and Md. Abdul Haque before their three-year term expires without giving any reason, The Daily Star reported. Abdus Salam Azad, managing director of Janata Bank, said they received a letter just before the board meeting Oct. 3 and that they "know nothing about why the two directors were withdrawn suddenly."


* Insurance Australia Group Ltd. and Malaysia's AMMB Holdings Bhd. are seeking bids for AmGeneral Insurance Bhd., a general insurance business in Malaysia that the two companies co-own, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. There is reportedly no certainty that the plan will lead to a deal for AmGeneral Insurance, as the sellers will need to obtain approval from Bank Negara Malaysia to hold formal talks with potential buyers.

* Australian digital-only lender Volt Bank has tied up with U.S.-based PayPal Holdings Inc. to allow PayPal customers to use their personal data to skip some steps when applying for a Volt Bank account, The Australian Financial Review reported. The collaboration also enables Volt Bank to link its debit and credit cards to PayPal.

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said it has issued a new legislative instrument that offers various relief and modifies the laws related to short selling. The instrument provides, among other things, legislative relief to allow exchange traded fund market makers to make naked short sales in ETFs and managed funds in the course of making a market in units in those funds.


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

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