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Australian court dismisses Westpac case; NAB posts 1.0% rise in Q3 profit

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Westpac lending case and other legal and regulatory actions

* Australia's Federal Court dismissed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's responsible lending case against Westpac Banking Corp. ASIC had filed the case in 2017, alleging that Westpac did not properly assess borrowers' actual expenses when granting loans.

* China's banking regulator will inspect the practices of the property-related businesses of banks in 32 cities, Xinhua News Agency reported. The move came after the People's Bank of China urged banks to keep their loans in the property sector at a reasonable level.

* India's government and central bank rolled out additional measures to improve liquidity for nonbanking financial companies, or NBFCs. The measures include the provision of a partial credit guarantee of 1 trillion rupees for public-sector banks that purchase pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs.

* The Reserve Bank of India will release a revised regulatory framework for housing finance companies, as such entities will now be treated as one of the categories of nonbanking financial companies.

* China's securities regulator has allowed margin trading and short selling on more stocks and scrapped a uniform threshold for margin calls, as it seeks to give market forces a bigger role in the capital market.

M&A corner

* Thailand's TMB Bank PCL entered into an agreement to merge with Thanachart Bank PCL to create the country's sixth-largest commercial lender with approximately 1.9 trillion baht of assets.

* Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. is considering an acquisition of a near 90% stake in Indonesia's PT Bank Permata Tbk, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

* South Korea's Woori Bank received preliminary approval from Cambodian financial authorities in June to merge Woori Finance Cambodia Plc and WB Finance Co. Ltd., The Chosun Ilbo reported, citing industry sources.

* India's IDFC Ltd. plans to sell its unit, IDFC Securities Ltd., to former Axis Capital Ltd. Managing Director and CEO Dharmesh Mehta, along with other investors.

Asia-Pacific banks post mixed earnings results

* National Australia Bank Ltd. said unaudited cash earnings grew 1.0% year over year to A$1.65 billion in the fiscal third quarter ended June. The bank attributed the increase to growth in lending to small and midsize enterprises and a slightly higher group margin.

* Japan Post Bank Co. Ltd. reported a 0.6% year-over-year decline in net income for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30 to ¥77.83 billion from ¥78.35 billion.

* Taiwan's CTBC Financial Holding Co. Ltd. posted a 3.7% year-over-year decline in second-quarter net profit to NT$9.32 billion from NT$9.68 billion. CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., a unit of the group, posted a second-quarter net profit of NT$6.99 billion, up 2.1% year over year from NT$6.84 billion.

* PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk reported an 8.6% year-over-year increase in profit for the first half ended June 30 to 16.165 trillion Indonesian rupiah from 14.890 trillion rupiah.

* Malaysia's Public Bank Bhd. reported a 4.5% year-over-year decline in second-quarter profit attributable to equity holders to 1.33 billion ringgit from 1.40 billion ringgit as allowance for impairments rose.

* India's IDBI Bank Ltd. posted a consolidated net loss of 38.21 billion Indian rupees for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, compared to a net loss of 23.83 billion rupees in the prior-year period.

* Philippine National Bank's net income for the second quarter fell 48.3% year over year to 2.04 billion Philippine pesos from 3.95 billion pesos due to a significant decline in net gains on sale or exchange of assets.

In other news

* State Bank of India will explore spinning off its 74%-owned SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. in an IPO.

* Fairfax India Holdings Corp. said its 50.1%-owned CSB Bank Ltd., formerly known as Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd., is seeking up to 300 million Indian rupees in an IPO in India.

* More than 400,000 customers of National Australia Bank and unit MLC Ltd. are eligible to be part of a class action against the two companies over allegedly improper sales of credit card and personal loan insurance products, according to a notice from the Australian Federal Court.

* Debt-laden mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd. is seeking 150 billion rupees in immediate funding from banks to lend to retail customers, the Press Trust of India reported, citing sources. The funding will be used to finance projects that are in limbo due to lack of funds, said a source.

* Deutsche Bank AG is merging its financing and structured debt operations in Asia into its investment banking division, while continuing to cut jobs, Bloomberg News reported, citing an internal memo.

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