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3 foreign firms eye Reliance Home Finance stake; Fitch upgrades Thai banks

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3 foreign firms eye Reliance Home Finance stake; Fitch upgrades Thai banks

GREATER CHINA

* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority signed a cooperation agreement with the Central Bank of Brazil to support financial technology businesses in both markets. The central banks plan to encourage fintech innovation and support fintech businesses expanding in each other's jurisdiction.

* Chinese fintech firm 9F Group has partnered with local and international companies to apply for a virtual banking license in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported, citing group CFO and head of international business Samuel Lin Yanjun. Lin said the move is in line with the company's plan to expand internationally.

* Li Yunze, vice president of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., will become deputy governor of the Sichuan province in China, replacing Zhu Hexin who was appointed deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, Caixin reported.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said Taiwanese banks' earnings from overseas branches totaled NT$31.7 billion in the first half, up 17.4 % year over year, the Taipei Times reported. Branches in Hong Kong contributed the most earnings at NT$16.56 billion, followed by branches in the U.S., China and Japan.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is set to form a joint venture with real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd. as part of efforts to relocate and downsize branches, The Nikkei reported.

* Japanese convenience store chain operator Lawson Inc. said its new banking unit will start operation Oct. 15, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

* South Korean social media company Kakao Corp. is seeking to acquire Baro Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. for about 50 billion won, The Chosun Ilbo reported. Baro Investment & Securities is a small South Korean brokerage firm capitalized at 41.9 billion won.

* South Korean venture capital and private equity investor Nau Ib Capital will go public on the KOSDAQ on Oct. 4, Yonhap News Agency reported.

* Hana Financial Group Inc. signed a partnership agreement with Griffin Capital Co. LLC, a U.S.-based real estate developer, to increase its investment in U.S. real estate assets, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

ASEAN

* Fitch Ratings upgraded the national long-term ratings of TMB Bank PCL and Thanachart Bank PCL to AA-(tha) from A+(tha), and raised the viability rating of United Overseas Bank (Thai) PCL to "bbb-" from "bb+." The rating agency also upgraded the national long-term rating of Thanachart Bank's parent company, Thanachart Capital PCL, to A+(tha) from A(tha).

* Thailand's Ministry of Finance wants Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Co-operatives to pilot additional duty as a land bank for farmers without their own land to work on, Post Today reported. The matter will be proposed to the cabinet for approval before the end of 2018.

* Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. started offering the first tranche of its 20 billion Philippine pesos of long-term negotiable certificates of time deposit due 2024. The certificates will have a tenor of five years and six months. The offer period runs from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21 and the LTNCDs will be issued and listed Sept. 28.

* PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk is entering the logistics sector by working with Triplogic, a start-up company, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Pvt. Ltd. and Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada expressed interests in buying a 25% stake in Reliance Home Finance Ltd., Press Trust of India reported, citing sources. Reliance Home Finance is reportedly looking to sell a 24.99% stake in the company which could fetch between 15 billion rupees to 20 billion rupees.

* State Bank of India has put on hold its plan to issue its first green bonds to raise US$500 million due to high volatility in international markets, Business Standard reported.

* Indian microfinance company Arohan Financial Services Ltd. is looking at potentially listing in the next 12 to 15 months, depending on regulatory approvals and market condition, Mint reported, citing Managing Director Manoj Kumar Nambiar. The company is also planning to raise about 3.5 billion rupees from its promoters and investors.

* The Indian government appointed Girish Radhakrishnan and Tajinder Mukherjee chairmen-cum-managing directors of United India Insurance Co. Ltd. and National Insurance Co. Ltd., respectively, Press Trust of India reported, citing a government statement. Radhakrishnan and Mukherjee currently work as general managers at New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* National Australia Bank Ltd. broke ranks with its competitors by keeping its mortgage interest rate unchanged for existing customers at 5.24%, The Australian Financial Review reported. The move is said to be in response to criticism from the Productivity Commission, which questioned the banking industry's long-term strategy of charging existing customers higher rates, as opposed to new home borrowers who are given discounts.

* Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Michelle Bullock said the country's increasing household debt is not a threat to the economy, noting that banks' mortgage lending was prudent and was mostly loaned to people who can service it, The Australian reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Bahrain's Al Baraka eyes 2019 share offering; Zimbabwe names new finance chief

Europe: Lloyd's confirms Neal to be CEO; probe looking into $150B of Danske transactions

Latin America: Bancomext-Nafin merger plan criticized; Banco de Occidente names president

North America: SEC halts trading of 2 securities; LendingClub to not settle FTC suit

Global Insurance: Catalina-Zurich talk deal; Lloyd's confirms CEO hire; Japan typhoon losses

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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