* Charter Hall Group, an Australia-based property group, has held several rounds of early talks for the acquisition of Westpac Banking Corp.'s infrastructure investment arm, Hastings Funds Management, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing sources.
* French reinsurer AXA Re expects to soon get approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India to start operations in the South Asian country, The Indian Express reported, citing an official of the company.
* Japan-based Sawada Holdings Co. Ltd., which is listed on the JASDAQ Securities Exchange, acquired a tranche of shares issued by Kyrgyzkommertsbank OJSC, the lender said. The value of the investment and the size of the stake were not disclosed.
* Only around 400 peer-to-peer Chinese online lending institutions signed fund depository contracts with banks ahead of a deadline set by the banking regulator, fewer than 20% of the total number of firms, the Securities Times reported. Meanwhile, the number of operating P2P platforms declined 66 to 2,148 as of the end of May from the previous month.
* Eleven Chinese banks, comprising eight city commercial banks and three agricultural commercial banks, are awaiting regulatory approval for their IPOs, the Securities Times reported. Eight of the 11 banks each had assets of more than 200 billion yuan.
* Twenty Chinese banks have suspended offering housing loans, while more may also do so, Beijing Business Today reported. However, analysts said there would not be a large-scale suspension of the business across the country, and noted that interest rates for housing loans are still expected to rise.
* Starting July 1, the Chinese government will suspend the collection of supervisory fees from insurance companies, International Financial News reported. As a result, industry insiders estimate that insurers will pay at least 1.5 billion yuan less in such fees.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan Post Bank Co. Ltd. will get government approval for its plan to offer small unsecured loans to its customers beginning in 2019, The Nikkei reported.
* Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. will test a customer service humanoid robot at its main Tokyo branch, The Nikkei reported. The bank is already using a humanoid robot at its branch in Narita International Airport.
* Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd. is beefing up its fintech workforce in a potential move to launch a third South Korean Internet bank, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported. Web portal operator Naver Corp. is considered the most likely partner.
* South Korea's central bank governor, Lee Ju-yeol, has hinted at monetary tightening in the event of accelerated economic recovery, The Korea Herald reported. The policy rate currently is at a record low of 1.25%.
* EBEST INVESTMENT & SECURITIES Co. Ltd. said the sale of an 84.6% stake in the company to moneylender APRO Service Group fell apart due to undisclosed reasons, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.
* Bank of Ayudhya PCL is studying ways to provide money transfer services between Thailand and Cambodia, with a focus on targeting Cambodian laborers, Post Today reported. Bank sources also said the lender wants to expand its microfinance business in Cambodia.
* The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office estimates the Thai economy to grow by 3.4% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2018, Post Today reported.
* Indonesia-based PT Bank Tabungan Negara (Persero) Tbk plans to grow its e-banking operations by 30% year over year to boost commission-based income, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will require lenders to set up a fraud loss fund if they have not issued chip-based cards to their account holders, BusinessWorld reported. The central bank had instructed banks to migrate to chip-based technology by early 2017.
* IndiaFirst Life Insurance Co. Ltd.'s joint venture partners are considering different strategic options, including the partial or complete divestment of their stakes, The Economic Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the proposed transaction. Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and the U.K.'s Legal & General Group Plc hold stakes in the insurer.
* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has appointed an administrator to manage Sahara India Life Insurance Co. Ltd. with immediate effect as the insurer has been "acting in a manner likely to be prejudicial to the interests of holders of life insurance policies."
* Shriram Transport Finance Co. Ltd. issued 5.5 billion Indian rupees through the issue of nonconvertible debentures on a private placement basis. The debentures with a two-year tenor carry an annual 7.95% coupon, while the debentures with an 18-month tenor have an annual 7.85% coupon.
* India-based online insurer Coverfox raised 960 million rupees in series C funding, which was led by U.S. insurer Transamerica alongside other investors, The Economic Times reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* National Australia Bank Ltd. faces new claims relating to the false certification of customer identification documents, in a breach of anti-money laundering rules, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The bank did not give a number of cases but suggested that none of the customers was negatively affected.
* National Australia Bank will soon launch Google Inc.'s Android Pay services for its users, The Australian reported.
* Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said most claims associated with Cyclone Debbie have been dealt with, Townsville Bulletin reported. The cyclone thus far has resulted in 56,135 claims amounting up to A$897 million.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Qatari banks' liquidity at risk after blacklist; Moody's downgrades South Africa
Europe: Vicenza, Veneto rescue underway; Banco Popular faces claims; Deutsche eyes Asia
Latin America: Court dismisses Temer campaign case; Fitch sees more Mexican bank IPOs
North America: Mnuchin hints at superpowers; Puerto Rico votes to become 51st state
North America Insurance: HHS review finds improper payments by Medicare; US life sector grew profit in Q1
Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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