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National Bank of Kuwait's Q2 profit up 16.3% YOY; Israel holds key rate


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National Bank of Kuwait's Q2 profit up 16.3% YOY; Israel holds key rate

* German officials are reviewing a request by Iran to repatriate €300 million in cash from accounts held by German lender Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG, as the Middle Eastern nation braces for fresh U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported, citing German newspaper Bild. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies are concerned that the funds could be funneled to armed groups in the Middle East, although German officials noted that they have no indications of such plans.

* Makram Azar, Barclays PLC's chairman for the Middle East and North Africa and chairman of banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has retired from the firm.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co. appointed Carsten Woehrn to the newly created position of head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa infrastructure M&A, Reuters reported.

* U.S.-based Northern Trust Corp.'s asset management unit appointed Marie Dzanis to head its business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


* National Bank of Kuwait SAKP reported first-half net profit of 185.9 million Kuwaiti dinars, up 12.9% from 164.7 million dinars in the year-ago period. For the second quarter, net profits amounted to 92.3 million dinars, a 16.3% increase from 79.3 million dinars a year earlier.

* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates issued new regulation requiring banks to report all accounts that have been inactive for a period of 3 months, Emarat Al Youm reported. The new legislation also wants banks to transfer money of accounts with less than 3,000 UAE dirhams to the central bank in case it remained inactive for a period of seven years.

* Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC and Union National Bank - PJSC said separately that they do not have any exposure on embattled private equity firm Abraaj Group Ltd.

* Amlak Finance PJSC promoted acting COO Ali Al-Shamali to permanently hold the post.

* Dubai's DIFC Courts ruled in favor of GFH Financial Group BSC in a case against former employee, David Haigh, who was found guilty of embezzling funds from the Bahrain-based company and was ordered to pay damages to the group. GFH said it will begin enforcement proceedings in Dubai and the U.K. for damages amounting to approximately $5.1 million.

* Moody's said the outlook for Bahrain's banking system remains negative, as the Bahraini government's constrained spending is expected to weaken growth in the country's non-oil economy. The state's rising debt is also reducing its capacity to support Bahraini banks in the event of a crisis, the rating agency added.


* The Bank of Israel kept its key interest rate on hold at 0.1%, saying inflation continues to rise toward its target.

* Israel Discount Bank Ltd. confirmed that it approached Dexia Israel Bank Ltd. about a potential merger with the former's wholly owned Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd. unit, Haaretz reported.

* The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Ltd. and Polish stock exchange operator Gielda Papierów Wartosciowych w Warszawie SA signed a letter of intent to deepen technological cooperation and jointly explore innovative business opportunities, Rzeczpospolita reported.

* BLOM Bank SAL Chairman and General Manager Saad Azhari said the Lebanon-based lender expects a slight improvement in profits and its balance sheet for 2018, owing to cost controls and a significant improvement in the bank's Egyptian unit, BLOM Bank Egypt SAE, Reuters reported.

* Crédit Populaire d'Algérie CEO Omar Boudieb was fired, insiders told TSA-Algerie.

* Islamic Development Bank sold its entire 20.9% stake in Banque Zitouna SA to Groupe Triki for approximately 102.8 million Tunisian dinars, L'Economiste Maghrebin wrote.


* Western Kenya's Lake Region Economic Bloc has begun searching for a new consultant to lead its acquisition of a specialized bank headquartered in Nairobi, Business Daily Africa reported. The bloc is seeking to replace its current adviser, former KCB Group PLC CEO Martin Oduor-Otieno.

* Lina Higiro has been appointed as managing director of Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. unit Commercial Bank of Africa Rwanda, replacing Edigold Monday, subject to central bank approval, The New Times wrote.

* Shareholders of GCB Bank Ltd. approved a dividend distribution of 10 Ghanaian pesewas per share for 2017, down from 38 pesawas per share a year ago, Joy Business noted. Separately, the bank told Citi Business News that it is increasing the scope of its foreign exchange trading in a bid to curb the impact of foreign currency shortage in the country.

* Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd.'s board nominated Abena Osei-Poku as the lender's new managing director, Joy Business reported. Subject to approval by the Bank of Ghana, Osei-Poku will replace Patience Akyianu, who will leave the bank at the end of September.

* The Bank of Ghana has released a directive for banks seeking for M&A deals, Pulse wrote. The directive shows the relevant legal basis to consider such transactions, specific requirements of financial firms involved, as well as potential sanctions for non-compliance.

* Nigeria's NPF Microfinance Bank Plc said it plans to raise fresh capital via a public offering, Business Post Nigeria reported.

* Charles Kié has resigned as managing director and CEO of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd., Financial Afrik reported. He assumed the post in January 2016.

* Nigerian Export-Import Bank Managing Director and CEO Abba Bello expects the bank's estimated net profit for 2018 before "bad and doubtful" provisions to reach 5.12 billion Nigerian naira, although he noted that the amount is expected to fall to 2.57 billion naira after liabilities are net off, This Day reported.

* The World Bank will provide Burkina Faso with financial support worth more than $2 billion over the 2018-2023 period to help support growth and job creation, among other sectors, Agence Ecofin reported.


* Moody's withdrew South African finance company Real People Investment Holdings Ltd.'s Ca/Not Prime long- and short-term global scale issuer ratings, as well as its long- and short-term national scale ratings.


Asia-Pacific: China asks banks to cut lending rates; Shriram clarifies news on merging units

Europe: UK Brexit secretary resigns; TSB future with Sabadell in doubt

Latin America: Bank association questions Mi Agro plan; Scotiabank completes BBVA Chile deal

North America: Citi, BlackRock to expand Paris ops; Citi looks to boost deposits via mobile app

Global Insurance: ACA risk adjustments frozen; Argo drops out of Aspen race; Marsh to cut jobs

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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