GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Bahrain and its Gulf allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are making headway on discussions over a multi-year aid program designed to help Bahrain improve its financial health and prevent a potential devaluation, insiders told Bloomberg News. The scheme would include measures to boost non-oil revenue, including the introduction of a value-added tax. The Arab Monetary Fund is reportedly involved in the talks and may help monitor the implementation of the program.
* Moody's downgraded United Arab Bank PJSC's long- and short-term deposit ratings to Baa3/P-3 from Baa2/P-2, and revised the outlook on the long-term deposit rating to stable from negative.
* Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC has mandated HSBC and JPMorgan to arrange its planned $750 million sukuk sale, insiders told Reuters. The debt sale still requires shareholder approval.
* Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Trade Finance Corp. will launch a $300 million trade finance fund with U.S. fund manager Federated Investors. The fund, expected to launch later this year, will invest in project finance assets of sovereign entities, energy-related structured trade, and supply chain financing.
* Bank AlJazira renewed two insurance deals with Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. for its personal finance and mortgage portfolios for one year, Argaam noted.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Industrial Bank of Kuwait KSC's financial strength rating at A.
* Insured losses from Cyclone Mekunu, which hit Oman in May, have reached up to 108 million rials, Times of Oman wrote, citing data from the country's Capital Market Authority.
* Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. said it has received regulatory approval to appoint an independent consultant to oversee the implementation of governance policy at the company. The move follows the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority's decision to ban the insurer from issuing and renewing insurance policies due to irregularities.
* Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority approved a request by Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. to increase its capital to 300 million riyals from 250 million riyals through the issuance of bonus shares.
* Kuwait Investment Co. KSCP said Abdelrahman Mohammed Youcef Alromi has resigned from his position as head of the finance department.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Swiss government has advised companies to continue doing business with Iran on an informed basis despite renewed U.S. sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation, Reuters wrote.
* Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer was appointed president of the Association of African Central Banks, replacing South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, Amwal Al Ghad noted. Amer said African states are considering the creation of a common central bank and a single currency, but stressed that the process could take about 25 years, Sputnik International wrote.
* CI Ratings affirmed Egypt-based QNB Alahli SAE's long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at B/B, with a positive outlook.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* A judge gave former National Bank of Kenya Ltd. Managing Director Munir Ahmed temporary reprieve against fines imposed on him by the Capital Markets Authority over his alleged involvement in a fraud scheme at the bank, but had lost his bid to lift his suspension from participating in the market, Standard Media wrote. Meanwhile, former National Bank of Kenya Chief Credit Officer George Jaba, who is also embroiled in the fraud scheme, lost his bid to prevent the Directorate of Criminal Investigations from investigating and prosecuting him, Business Daily Africa reported. Jaba has accused the lender's directors of using police to harass him.
* Kenya-based Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa, or Shelter Afrique, will lay off 13 employees as part of its cost-cutting efforts, Business Daily Africa wrote.
* Staff at the five banks whose licenses were revoked by the Bank of Ghana last week will know the status of their employment in 60 days, Joy Online wrote. In the meantime, the staff will work at Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd., the newly established lender that took over the the five banks.
* Zenith Bank PLC has booked a 50% provision on its exposure to a loan facility to indebted telecoms firm 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, Business Post Nigeria reported. The lender has the highest exposure to the $1.2 billion credit facility, amounting to $262 million and 80 billion Nigerian naira.
* Jaiz Bank PLC Managing Director Hassan Usman said the lender aims to have at least 40 branches in Nigeria before the end of the year as part of its five-year strategic plan, Business Post Nigeria reported.
* First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. said it would redeem a seven-year $300 million eurobond before its 2020 maturity and repay all bondholders, Financial Afrik reported.
* The Central Bank of Mauritania gave a 15-day ultimatum to any money-transfer companies that have not filed a request for regularization to comply with banking regulations, Financial Afrik said.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Investec, which is listed in South Africa as Investec Ltd. and in London as Investec PLC, is facing shareholder revolt over its plan to reappoint scandal-hit KPMG as one of its auditors, The Daily Telegraph reported. Investec said its board remains "concerned about the failures of KPMG's internal controls and procedures" and that its decision to stick with KPMG was influenced by "the need to ensure stability within South Africa's financial system."
* Banque d'Epargne et Crédit Chairman Alcides Safeca said the Angolan bank has closed 14 branches as part of a restructuring process, Angop said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Aussie banks to fix anti-fraud controls; Vietnam to limit foreign bank licenses
Europe: Prudential, L&G, Zurich report earnings; Italy eyes Monte dei Paschi sale
Latin America: Banco do Brasil's Q2 profit rises almost 20%; Intercorp's profit falls
North America: House plans FHFA oversight hearing; LendingClub faces Massachusetts AG scrutiny
Global Insurance: AMA wants CVS/Aetna blocked; fresh Icahn salvo; UK's Prudential keeping Asia biz
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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