* Chinese online peer-to-peer lending platform Golden Bull Ltd. priced its U.S. IPO of 1.55 million ordinary shares at US$4.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of about US$6.2 million before underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. The shares started trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market on March 20 under the ticker symbol DNJR. The offering is expected to close March 22, subject to customary closing conditions.
* U.S.-based Citigroup Inc. increased the asset threshold requirement for its Citigold wealth management services in China to at least 1 million yuan from 500,000 yuan, as it aims to maintain double-digit growth in assets under management in the country's wealth management segment, the South China Morning Post reported. The bank is also offering improved digital and international banking services, the report said.
* China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd. and Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. signed a three-year business cooperation agreement, under which the bank will provide the insurer with agency sales services of insurance products, and will receive from it the service fees for agency sales. Anbang Insurance unit Anbang Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd.. directly holds more than a 10% stake in China Merchants Bank as of March 20, making the insurer a connected entity to the bank.
* China is set to strengthen inclusive finance in rural areas to improve the rural vitalization strategies of financial companies, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a document on promoting rural financing issued by local banking authorities. Authorities plan to have inclusive loan growth to farmers and small and micro agricultural at par with the average lending growth, while loans targeting poverty alleviation should show accelerated growth.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan-based Sony Life Insurance Co. Ltd.'s planned takeover of Australia's ClearView Wealth Ltd. is said to have hit roadblocks, including regulatory issues in Japan, which could halt the transaction, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported. Sony Life has until late April to carry out a transaction or vend its shares into a rival offer for ClearView Wealth, likely to be sourced by private equity firm Crescent Capital Partners, which owns a stake in the company.
* Japan Housing Finance Agency obtained government approval to expand its housing finance business abroad, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported. As a first step, the company will start offering consulting services to public-sector counterparts in Southeast Asian countries.
* Japan-based SBI Holdings Inc. plans to raise ¥36 billion from bonds in its largest bond offering since September 2005, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The planned bond issuance will consist of bonds with three-year and five-year terms.
* South Korea-based Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd. raised US$400 million from an issuance of contingent convertible bonds, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported. The offering attracted US$1.11 billion worth of orders from investors.
* Thailand-based Thanachart Bank PCL and Laos-based Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public, or BCEL, partnered to extend the use of the QR code system to the Laos bank's customers, Post Today reported. BCEL customers will be able to use their mobile app to scan a QR code to make payments in Thailand, where Thanachart Bank is the sponsor lender.
* Customers of Indonesian lender PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk are said to have fallen victim to skimming after a similar case at PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk, Tribun Bisnis reported. Kartika Wirjoatmodjo, president director of Bank Mandiri, said the company has compensated victims and has reported the case to the police, Bisnis Indonesia separately reported. The losses from the case are estimated to be between 100 million and 150 million rupiah.
* PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk is looking to acquire another bank in 2018, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing President Director Achmad Baiquni. The lender also added a seat to its board of directors, bringing the total number of director positions to nine from eight.
* JACCS Finance (Cambodia) Plc., a consumer credit service provider, officially started operations in Cambodia, after receiving a license from the country's central bank in January, the Khmer Times reported. JACCS Finance is a unit of Japan Consumer Credit Services, or JACCS Co. Ltd., which is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.
* Indian consumer electronics maker Videocon Industries Ltd. divested its 51.32% stake in insurance unit Liberty Videocon General Insurance Co. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Videocon sold a 26% stake in the insurer to Diamond Dealtrade Ltd., and the remaining 25.32% stake to Enam Securities Pvt. Ltd.
* India-based ICICI Bank Ltd. raised 40 billion rupees from an issuance of unsecured subordinated perpetual Basel III-compliant bonds. Proceeds from the issuance will qualify as Additional Tier 1 capital. The notes bear a coupon of 9.15% per year and were issued on a private placement basis.
* Standard Chartered Bank - Bangladesh Branches named Enamul Huque as head of global banking for Bangladesh, The Daily Star reported. Huque was previously the lender's head of commercial banking.
* The Pakistani government is considering setting up a division at the finance ministry to deal with the country's Islamic banking industry, the Gulf Times in Qatar reported, citing Miftah Ismail, adviser to the prime minister on finance. Meanwhile, Jameel Ahmad, deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, said the industry has to expand its product offering and focus on unserved and underserved sectors and regions of the economy.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Deutsche Bank is on board for a potential IPO of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. asset finance unit UDC Finance Ltd., The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported. Sources said a number of joint lead manager roles will be open and a final decision regarding the roles will be finalized in the coming months. ANZ is considering listing the New Zealand-based unit after a deal to sell it fell through in January.
* China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co. Ltd. is said to have backed out of a plan to acquire the noncore operations of Australian financial services company AMP Ltd., The Australian reported. Talks between the two companies were reported by the publication in September 2017.
* IOOF Holdings Ltd. and Zurich Insurance Group AG held various meetings with ANZ staff to relay the staffing plans once the two companies, in separate deals, acquire ANZ's pensions and investments businesses and life insurance business, according to The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog. IOOF will acquire the Australian bank's pensions and investments businesses for A$975 million, while Zurich will acquire the life insurance unit for A$2.85 billion.
* Tim Bailey, life and investments CEO of Zurich Insurance, confirmed that the Swiss group will keep the OnePath Life Ltd. brand after it acquires the life insurer from ANZ later in 2018. Bailey noted that the OnePath and Zurich brands and propositions will operate alongside each other in the open market.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Kenya rate cut for 1st time since 2016; Saudi eyes Tadawul-only Aramco IPO
Europe: EU, UK reach Brexit transition deal; RBS mulls online bank; HSBC eyes $4B CoCos
Latin America: Banco de Bogotá Q4'17 profit down; Garantía de Valores acquisition gets nod
North America: SEC awards Merrill Lynch whistleblowers $83M; Powell's 1st Fed meeting today
North America Insurance: Tennessee House OKs Medicaid work approval; omnibus bill excludes ACA payments
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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